Making his first major league start in over a month, David Hess allowed only an unearned run through three innings of work. But the fourth inning sunk him and the Orioles, as Texas scored seven runs in the frame on their way to an 11-3 victory.
In a battle of rookie starting pitchers, Ariel Jurado (2-1) got the best of Hess (2-6). Filling in for the traded Kevin Gausman, Hess allowed seven runs (five earned) in 3.1 innings of work. It was a mixed bag for him tonight, but part of the rebuilding process is letting young players grow at the major league level.
Offensively, the Orioles tallied as many hits as the Rangers did but couldn’t push runs across. Jonathan Villar had his second multi-hit effort in as many games as an Oriole, going 3-5 with an RBI. Renato Nunez and Tim Beckham also added two hits. The defense committed three errors, all of which led to unearned runs scoring.
The Rangers grabbed the lead in the first inning by scoring an unearned run. After Rougned Odor bounced a single through the shift, Elvis Andrus dribbled a swinging bunt to the third base side of the pitchers mound. Hess knocked it down (he should have let it go) and threw off balance (he should have eaten it) to first base. The throw eluded Chris Davis and Odor came all the way around to score. Hess was charged with a fielding and throwing error on the play.
The O’s did have some traffic on the basepaths in the first few innings against Texas’ rookie starter. Beckham singled with one out in the first inning but was stranded. The third and fourth innings followed the same script: a lead off runner eliminated on a double play. Jace Peterson walked in the third and Adam Jones singled in the fourth, but both were washed out by Caleb Joseph and Mark Trumbo respectively hitting into twin killings.
After allowing a run in the first, Hess appeared to settle in. He retired the side in order in the second, striking out the last two. Carlos Tocci led off the third with a double. But Hess got Shin Soo Choo to fly to left and struck out Odor. Andrus then laced a line drive that was caught by a leaping Tim Beckham to end the inning.
But the game got away in the fourth inning. After getting ahead of Adrian Beltre 0-2, Hess drilled him in the back with an errant fastball. The next batter, Joey Gallo, immediately made Hess pay by swatting a two-run homer into the right field seats. Robinson Chirinos followed that up with a long home run to left, quickly making the score 4-0. Ronald Guzman then singled on a Bermuda Triangle pop up and Willie Calhoun reached on a Tim Beckham error, his eighth since the All Star Break. After Tocci struck out, Choo walked and Showalter came out to get Hess. Donnie Hart entered a one out, bases loaded situation. He promptly allowed a grand slam to Odor to make the score 8-0. Hart got out of the inning but the damage was done.
The Orioles finally got to Jurado in the fifth inning. After a Nunez double and Peterson walk, Villar picked up his first Orioles RBI with a single. Beckham then singled home Peterson to make this an 8-2 game.
Evan Phillips made his Orioles debut in the bottom of the fifth and looked fantastic. He pitched two perfect innings and punched out three batters. His fastball touched 95 mph with good movement and his changeup sat at 88 mph. It was an impressive showing. MASN even showed a picture of him as a child in an Orioles jersey.
The O’s got another run back in the sixth inning. Alex Claudio relieved Jurado and was greeted by a Mark Trumbo single. Chris Davis shot a double to the left-center gap that scored Trumbo, cutting the lead to five runs, 8-3. But Trey Mancini, Nunez, and Peterson were retired to short-circuit the rally.
The Orioles’ scoring chances continued. Villar singled in the seventh and moved into scoring position on a fielder’s choice, but Adam Jones could not deliver him. Trey Mancini reached on a two out error in the eighth and tried to score on a Nunez double. But he was gunned down at the plate. It was probably a good send by Bobby Dickerson, with Jace Peterson due up next.
Cody Carroll made his second appearance as an Oriole, entering the game in the seventh inning. He pitched a perfect inning. Nine up, nine down from the two bullpen prospects acquired last month was encouraging.
Mike Wright entered the game in the ninth inning with an ERA of 4.58. It was 4.97 when he walked off the mound. He allowed three runs on three hits and a walk as Texas put the nail in the coffin. Wright’s biggest offense was making Paul Fry warm up in the bullpen after two games where the bullpen has been taxed. The O’s were retired in order in the ninth inning to end the game quietly.
After losing the first two games in this four game series, the O’s will look to get back in the win column tomorrow at 8:05. Dylan Bundy (7-9, 4.53) will take the ball for Baltimore. Mike Minor (7-6, 4.73) goes for Texas.