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López gets knocked around in series finale against Jays

It wasn’t the finest of starts for Jorge López, and his offense struggled to provide much support.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The odds of the Orioles winning a game in which their two best hitters are given off days and half of the starting infield is fresh off of a promotion from Triple-A were not particularly high. So, it should come as no surprise that the team’s bats once again sputtered in a 5-2 loss to conclude a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

Brandon Hyde sent out a lineup befitting the minor league stadium in which the game took place. Ryan McKenna, Domingo Leyba, and Ramón Urías all went from starting for Norfolk one night to making up a third of Baltimore’s lineup the next. But they weren’t half bad. Leyba took an 0-for-4 with two strikeouts while McKenna and Urías combined to go 3-for-8 with a walk and an RBI. That trio was far from the main issue for the Orioles here.

The lineup, as a whole, combined to go 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Anthony Santander alone left six runners on base as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

It didn’t start off too bad, however. Ryan Mountcastle gave the Orioles an early 1-0 with his 13th home run of a season, a long fly ball to left field that came on the 8th pitch of his first-inning at-bat.

That advantage wouldn’t last long as the Blue Jays loaded the bases with no outs against Jorge López in the second inning on a single and two walks. The O’s starter actually did well to limit the damage, forcing Randal Grichuk to hit into a run-scoring double play followed by a fly out, which left the score tied at one run apiece after two innings.

Things wouldn’t work out so nicely in the third inning. Reese McGuire walked, and Marcus Semien singled ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who then doubled to score both of them and put the Blue Jays up 3-1.

The O’s drew within a run in the fifth inning as an Urías double scored Maikel Franco, who had led-off the frame with a single.

All progress was lost, unfortunately, in the bottom of the frame as Cavan Biggio knocked in a pair of runs on a double of his own, chasing López from the game in the process.

Although expectations for López are relatively low, this was one of his worst starts on the season. He lasted just 4.2 innings and gave up five runs (all earned) on 10 hits, four walks, and two strikeouts. Just 59 of his 100 pitches were thrown for strikes as he struggled to locate or get the Blue Jay hitters to chase his sinker out of the zone.

After both team’s starters were lifted from the game after the fifth inning, the bullpens took over and locked the opposing offenses down. Tyler Wells and Dillon Tate combined to toss 3.1 scoreless innings for the Birds.

Tate was especially dominant, featuring the absolute best stuff of his career. At one point the right-hander threw a fastball at 99.6 miles per hour, his fastest offering since reaching the big leagues. Of the six outs he record, five were strikeouts and one was a weak grounder.

The Orioles’ offense did come somewhat close to mounting a comeback in the seventh inning as they loaded the bases with two outs. Trey Mancini pinch hit for DJ Stewart and worked the count full against Tim Mayza, but the slugger wound up grounding out to the pitcher to end the threat as well as the Orioles’ hopes of winning.

The loss drops the Orioles to 24-54 on the season. They head to Houston next, where they will begin a three-game series against the Astros on Monday night. Thomas Eshelman (0-1, 7.27 ERA) is scheduled to pitch against Zack Greinke (8-2, 3.56 ERA).