The offense missed opportunities and the bullpen faltered in a tight game that the Orioles ended up losing. You could say this has been a familiar script in 2018. The O’s carried a lead into the eighth inning, but lost it and lost 3-2 to the Mariners at Camden Yards.
Kevin Gausman started for the Orioles and pitched well. He allowed one run on five hits in six innings of work and lowered his ERA to 4.20. He was locked in a nice pitchers’ duel with M’s starter James Paxton. Paxton was as advertised, allowing two runs in seven innings and punching out ten Orioles. He picked up his seventh win of the season. Darren O’Day (0-2) took the loss for Baltimore after allowing the first two runners of the eighth inning to reach. Perhaps more importantly, he left the game with a leg injury while fielding a bunt. Buck Showalter said after the game that the injury was to the hamstring and he anticipates a trip to the disabled list. This is a major development since O’Day was a potential trade trip as we near the trading deadline.
The O’s defense started strong, prevented a run in the first inning. Jean Segura singled with one out and was cut down while attempting to steal by Caleb Joseph. Mitch Haniger then doubled, making Joseph’s effort loom large. Gausman then retired Kyle Seager to strand a runner in scoring position.
The Orioles jumped out to a lead in the second inning, but it looked like said lead would have been larger. Danny Valencia led off the frame by taking a Paxton pitch into the seats, accounting for the first run of the game. With Jonathan Schoop at first base and two outs, Tim Beckham laced a double to right field that plated Schoop and gave the O’s a 2-0 lead. It was Beckham’s first hit since returning from the disabled list. But Seattle challenged the ruling on the field and Schoop was called out at the plate.
The Mariners got on the board and tied the game in the fourth inning. After Gausman pitched around two singles in the third, Kyle Seager led off the fourth with a solo home run. Gausman allowed a two out walk later in the frame, but that was the last baserunner he would allow in this contest. He retired the side in order in the fifth and struck out the side in the sixth. His 100th and final pitch of the evening got Denard Span looking.
Paxton settled down after his difficult second inning in which he allowed a run. Through five innings, the three hits the O’s managed were all in that second inning. That changed in the sixth. Caleb Joseph, Trey Mancini, and Adam Jones led off the inning with consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. With Manny Machado coming to the plate, it was shaping up to be a big inning. But Machado grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and got down the line so slowly that shortstop Jean Segura double-clutched his throw to first base and still got the out with plenty of time to spare. A run scored, but it was a missed opportunity. Valencia failed to deliver a base hit with two outs and the inning was over.
The inconsistent O’s bullpen took over in the seventh inning. Mychal Givens allowed a one-out single to Ben Gamel but got the next two hitters to take us to the seventh inning stretch. Paxton stayed on for the Mariners and struck out Mark Trumbo, Schoop, and Chris Davis in order and walked off the mound with ten punch outs. In what was a fairly predictable outcome, Davis was the victim of three of those K’s.
The O’s missed opportunity for a big inning reared its ugly head in the eighth. Darren O’Day entered and failed to record an out for the second consecutive game. After being ejected on a disputed balk call last night, he allowed a lead off slap double to Dee Gordon, who barely beat a good throw to second by Mancini. Segura then tried to bunt Gordon to third, but O’Day injured himself coming off the mound and both runners were safe. Tanner Scott relieved O’Day and walked Haniger to load the bases. He got ahead of Seager in the count 0-2, but his next slider didn’t slide and Seager lined a single to center field that gave Seattle a 3-2 lead. Scott struck out Denard Span for the inning’s first out and was then pulled for Miguel Castro. Castro induced a 5-4-3 double play to end what could have been a larger rally.
Paxton exited the game after seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits. The task did not get any easier after that, as Seattle’s dominant back-end of the bullpen entered. Alex Colome allowed only an Adam Jones single in the eighth. After Miguel Castro retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, Edwin Diaz, the league’s leader in saves, attempted to shut the door on Baltimore. After a ringing Valencia one-out single, Trumbo then flew on right on a ball that nearly dropped in because the outfield was playing so far back. With two outs, Schoop swung at the first pitch and grounded into a force out to end the game.
Whatever momentum the O’s built after a .500 road trip through Washington and Atlanta is seemingly gone after dropping their first two games in this four-game series. They will try to win tomorrow to give themselves a shot at splitting the series on Thursday afternoon. Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.56) will oppose Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 3.26) tomorrow at Camden Yards.