There are plenty of ways to lose a baseball game, but not scoring many runs must be at the top of the list. The Orioles’ bats remained silent in the second game of the doubleheader, and Baltimore fell 2-1 to Seattle in the fourth and final game of this strange series.
The Mariners scored both of their runs on a pair of solo home runs. Dylan Moore broke a scoreless tie with a shot to left center in the fifth, and Mitch Haniger gave the M’s the lead for good with a rocket to centerfield in the fifth.
Baltimore scored their only run of the game on a Freddy Galvis blast in the bottom of the third. Galvis, hitting from the left side of the plate, muscled a ball over the out-of-town scoreboard and into the flag court for his first home run of the season. The Orioles added only two other hits in the contest— singles by DJ Stewart and Rio Ruiz.
The game remained close due to another decent start by Orioles’ rookie Bruce Zimmermann. The local product battled a small, but mostly consistent, strikezone and a lack of command, but still gave Baltimore a chance to win. His final line read 5 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts and 3 walks.
Zimmermann has looked the part of a major league pitcher so far this season. He picked up a win in his first career start against the Red Sox, and delivered another quality start in a no decision last week.
Zimmermann threw 87 pitches (only 47 for strikes) and showed he could grind through games where everything fails to go his way. He allowed singles to Ty France and Kyle Seager after the homer by Haniger, and appeared to be down to his last batter with action brewing in the bullpen. Zim worked the count full before getting Luis Torrens to fly out and end the inning.
Travis Lakins Sr. and Cole Sulser both worked scoreless innings to give Baltimore a chance to even the score. Rio Ruiz bounced a single away from the shift, but Galvis tapped out to end the game.
The combined performances of Zimmermann, Lakins and Sulser prompts Orioles’ fans to begrudgingly look on the bright side. Lakins tossed his second clean inning after being recalled from the alternative site, and Sulser conducted himself well in a relatively high-leverage situation. Still, the low run total stings.
There is always the chance that the Galvis blast generates a spark, but the shortstop had just 6 hits in 37 at bats prior to the doubleheader. If fans were asked to pick an Orioles’ player to go deep before the game, Galvis likely would have been the last name that came to mind.
A few players hit the ball hard, but the Orioles have not benefited from the new baseball this season. Cedric Mullins came back to earth with a pair of hitless efforts today. Ruiz snuck a ground ball through the infield, but he also struck out twice. Ruiz has yet to look like a player that should require realigning the infield just to keep his bat in the lineup.
Maikel Franco made three consecutive nice plays in the top of the sixth inning. The third saw him spin around and fire to first, but the ball snuck through the webbing of Trey Mancini’s glove. The odd occurrence briefly put a damper on the effort, but the inning quickly concluded when Chance Sisco nabbed Taylor Trammell attempting to steal second. Trammell was also victimized by an impressive pickoff move by Zimmermann in the second.
Baltimore’s best chance to even the score came after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth. Stewart advanced to second on a pass ball with Anthony Santander at the plate. Santander smoked a ball up the middle, but Rule-5 pick Will Vest caught the ball with his glove near the ground. Vest quickly doubled off Stewart at second and extinguished the Birds’ best attempt at a rally.
Two full days of action resulted in the Orioles dropping three of the four seven inning games. Baltimore could have ended the day above .500, but now sit at 5-8 with a trip to Texas on the horizon. Jorge Lopez and his 11.42 ERA take the mound tomorrow, so the offense must wake up in a hurry.
This game gave off a vibe that should be all too familiar for fans. It became increasingly frustrating to watch the offense struggle, but there were still positive takeaways on the mound. That’s Orioles’ baseball for now.