The Orioles received a quality start from Dylan Bundy, but they still dropped their third straight in Arlington Saturday night. The Rangers defeated the Orioles 3-1, and Baltimore fell to 33-78 on the season.
If you heard that a slugger with a sub-.200 batting average made the difference in this one, you may have gotten your hopes up. But Chris Davis didn’t start for Baltimore, and Joey Gallo delivered for Texas.
After three scoreless innings to start the game, the Orioles surrendered a pair of runs in the fourth. Adrian Beltre led off the inning with a bouncer to third, but Renato Nunez fired an errant throw to first base, and Beltre reached safely. Gallo stepped in next, and absolutely demolished a 1-2 pitch into right field. The line-drive home run was Gallo’s 29th of the season.
There’s no way of knowing if Bundy was flustered after the error that started the inning, but there’s no doubt that the Orioles miss Manny Machado’s defense on the left side of the infield. There’s also no hiding that Bundy has struggled giving up the long ball this season.
Still, there’s no blaming Bundy for this loss. The Orioles have scored at least three runs in their last 11 games. But when this team scores eight, they give up 17. And when they get a quality start, the bats go silent. Buck Showalter refused to blame Bundy.
“Another game that he deserved to win,” Buck Showalter said on the MASN postgame show. “Not much margin for error, and we struggled defensively again.” The recent defensive woes and lack of fundamentals, coupled with all the losing, has to be weighing on Showalter.
Baltimore cut the lead in half in the seventh inning. After being held scoreless through the first six by Mike Minor, they finally broke through. Adam Jones bounced a sharply hit ground ball up the middle that deflected off of Rougned Odor’s glove. Mark Trumbo drove in Jones with a two-out single to trim the deficit to one.
The knock served as Trumbo’s 1,000th hit of his career. Trumbo began the season on the disabled list, and the Orioles fate had already been sealed by the time he returned, but he’s finally hitting at an acceptable pace. It’s too bad the milestone came in a losing effort.
Odor grabbed a crucial insurance run for Texas in the bottom of the eighth inning. After a scoreless seventh, Paul Fry came back out to face Odor in the eighth. Odor drove an absolute no-doubter to right-center field to provide the Rangers some distance. Fry never turned around to watch the ball, and looked away in disgust.
MASN broadcaster and Hall-of-Famer Jim Palmer mentioned during the broadcast that Fry has been working on a changeup. The 26-year-old lefty only throws a fastball and slider, and he used both pitches effectively in the seventh. Fry told Palmer that he works on the changeup every day, but he does not feel that it’s game ready. Fry should throw whatever pitch he feels gives him the best chance, and he’s competing for a roster spot on next year’s club, but a season like this feels exactly like the time to try out another off-speed pitch.
Mychal Givens got three straight outs after replacing Fry in the eighth. The Orioles pitched well enough to win the game, but Minor stole the show. He struck out six and allowed only four hits in seven innings. Minor, a former reliever, made it through seven innings with only 86 pitches.
Nunez led off the eighth with a broken-bat single up the middle. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, but never came around to score. He elected not to tag on a deep line out to right field by Caleb Joseph, and Jonathan Villar grounded out to end the inning.
The Orioles will try to avoid a four-game sweep tomorrow afternoon. Yefry Ramirez gets the start for Baltimore, who will try and hit and pitch on the same day.