It happened again. The Orioles starting pitcher was pretty good, but not great and the offense was a one-man show that did little to mount a comeback. You already know the result: a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Thursday evening.
The Twins lineup did not have a great night against Orioles starter Andrew Cashner when he was on the mound, but a costly fielding error by the pitcher helped them get on the scoreboard first anyway.
Jake Cave led off the third inning with a double. He came around to score one batter later when Bobby Wilson hit a dribbler to first base, which was fielded cleanly by Chris Davis. The toss from Davis to Cashner, who was running up the base line to cover, was a tad high but the pitcher should have come up with it. Instead, it sailed over his head, bringing home Cave and moving Wilson to second. Wilson scored later in the inning on an Eddie Rosario single.
Minnesota added to the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run from Logan Morrison to begin the frame. It was Morrison’s 10th long ball of the season and the 15th allowed by Cashner this campaign.
Apart from those two innings, Cashner had yet another solid start. He lasted six innings, served up six hits, walked two and struck out three. He had decent control, his slider looked really good at times, and it hung in the middle of the plate other times. Against a hotter offense, he may have been in some trouble, but you can only play against the opponent you’re given.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore bats were almost completely silent with the exception of Jonathan Schoop. The second baseman continued his very recent run of games in which he has rediscovered his ability to hit. Tonight, he went deep twice, hitting the ninth and tenth home runs of the season. Unfortunately, they were both of the one-run variety and the rest of the Orioles offense combined for just three hits.
Schoop’s first homer of the day was something nice to take away from a season of so many lows. He absolutely crushed the 89 mph sinker from Aaron Sleglers into the second deck at Target Field.
The other O’s hits were a double from Adam Jones and then a single each for Manny Machado and Trey Mancini. The Mancini single was smoked too, but the outfielder played it perfectly off the wall to limit the Birds “left fielder” to one base.
It would be unfair to simply say the Orioles offense was bad again tonight. It was, but the Twins also made a few really good plays in the field. Like this one:
And this one:
On another positive note, Tanner Scott pitched in the seventh inning for the O’s and looked un-hittable. The left-hander threw just 10 pitches, nine of which were strikes, and struck out all three batters he faced. His fastest offering was a 100.3 mph fastball to Brian Dozier. It also happened to be the only ball he threw. All three K’s came on swings and misses on his slider. When is Zach Britton being traded again?
Brad Brach had a much different experience out of the ‘pen. The former closer tossed the eighth inning, but allowed two runs on three hits (two singles and a double) before striking out Wilson to stop the bleeding. But the damage had already been done. Rather than chasing a one-run deficit in the ninth inning, the O’s now had three runs to make up, and it never happened.
The Orioles have now lost three in-a-row. This series with the Twins continues on Friday night at 8:10 p.m. ET. Dylan Bundy (6-7, 3.75 ERA) heads to the mound for the Birds. The home team will counter with Lance Lynn (5-7, 5.49 ERA).