The Orioles’ offensive struggles followed them from Kansas City to Seattle. After scoring seven runs in three games in Missouri, they managed just one run in the first game of a three game set against the Mariners en route to a 2-1 loss. The loss was the 98th of the season as the march towards 100 losses continues. They remain winless against the Mariners this season.
Oriole hitters just couldn’t get anything going against Erasmo Ramirez (2-3) and four Seattle relievers. They managed three hits and did not work a walk while striking out nine times. The only run came courtesy of Jonathan Villar, who homered in the fourth inning. They had just one at bat with a runner in scoring position.
Josh Rogers (1-1) wasn’t able to win his second career game, but he did pitch well. He lasted 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. He punched out four batters. Buck Showalter pulled him after 80 pitches (50 were strikes) as there is no need to overextend him at this point. He had a much better feel for his changeup and slider than in his first outing. His fastball again sat at 90-91 MPH. The outing left his ERA at a respectable 4.35.
For the second time in as many starts, Rogers started an outing with three dominant innings. Through three, he allowed only one baserunner: a Cameron Maybin lead off single in the third. It has been fun watching him get off to impressive starts in both of his big league starts.
Unfortunately, Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez matched Rogers. A Tim Beckham single in the second inning was the only baserunner the O’s managed through three innings. That changed in the top of the fourth inning. Jonathan Villar crushed a Ramirez offering off the right field foul poul to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead. It was a frozen rope got out of the park in a hurry. The homer was Villar’s sixth since joining the Orioles and his twelve overall. He’s now gone deep in back to back games.
Rogers immediately gave that lead back in the bottom of the fourth and it was walks that came back to bite him. He walked Robinson Cano with one out after getting ahead 1-2 in the count. Nelson Cruz followed that with a walk. Ryon Healy proceeded to lace the first pitch he saw to left-center, scoring Cano. Cruz advanced to third but Healy was thrown out at second because Cedric Mullins hit the cutoff man. Hooray for fundamentals! The inning ended thanks to a nice play at first base by Mancini. Despite the rough inning, Rogers’ pitch count sat at a reasonable 57 through four innings.
Seattle got another tally off of Rogers in the fifth. Maybin led off with a triple to the right field gap. After Mike Zunino struck out, Dee Gordon gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly. Mitch Haniger tripled with two outs on a ball that Mullins and Joey Rickard misplayed by not backing each other up. Rogers retired Segura to end the inning to end the bleeding.
Ramirez, who came into the game with a 6.28 ERA, pitched very well despite allowing the first run of the game. He allowed only one hit other than the Villar homer and struck out five Orioles. He was removed after recording one out in the fifth. Zach Duke relieved him and retired the last two batters of the sixth.
Baltimore went to their bullpen in the next inning. Rogers retired Cano to lead off the sixth and was pulled afterwards by Buck Showalter. Jimmy Yacabonis, just recalled from Norfolk, entered the game for his third relief appearance in the majors this season. He did an admirable job out of the pen. Three of the five outs he recorded were punchouts and he permitted just one walk. Miguel Castro also appeared out of Baltimore’s bullpen and wasn’t as sharp in his one inning of work. He allowed a walk and a hit and the first two outs he recorded were hard hit line drives. A run would have scored if not for a brilliant play by Villar. He dove behind the bag and quickly threw to first to retire Ryon Healy to end the inning.
The Orioles got their lone opportunity with a runner in scoring position by a break in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Beckham appeared to hit a routine fly ball to center field off of Nick Vincent. Dee Gordon simply missed the catch and Beckham (who, to his credit, was running) made it to second base. The error only cost Vincent three pitches, as he promptly struck out Renato Nunez.
The back end of Seattle’s bullpen, Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz, is a weapon for them and they showed why tonight. Colome pitched the eighth and struck out Chance Sisco. Joey Rickard rung a single to center but was erased on an inning-ending double play off the bat of Caleb Joseph. MLB saves leader Diaz faced the top of the order as he sought to protect a one run lead. He struck out the side and secured his 52nd save of the season.
These two teams will square off again tomorrow night in the second game of this series. Alex Cobb (4-15, 5.11) will face Wade LeBlanc (8-3, 3.71).