The Orioles modest winning streak came to a screeching halt on Wednesday night as they were pounded 10-1 by the Cardinals.
It was not a shocking outcome. After all, O’s starter Spenser Watkins had been playing with fire for most of the season. His performance didn’t really match the 3.22 ERA with which he entered the day. That is no longer a problem as his ERA jumped by nearly two full runs following this outing. Now it all makes sense.
The Cardinals pounced out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Juan Yepez led off with a home run. Then a trio of doubles from Dylan Carlson, Corey Dickerson, and Brendan Donovan drove in two more runs.
Yepez hit this one 412 feet and notched a hit in his 7th straight game!#STLCards x @STIHLUSA pic.twitter.com/dkLprjJ5iX— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 12, 2022
That lead was extended by four more in the fourth inning as St. Louis rallied with two outs. Tommy Edman singled with two runners to score one. Paul Goldschmidt knocked in two more with a double. And then Nolan Arenado delivered the knockout blow with a run-scoring two-bagger of his own.
4 runs in the bottom of the 4th! pic.twitter.com/8xzVRGxgXv— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 12, 2022
That was it for Watkins. He was pulled after allowing seven runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over 3.2 frames. It’s a shame because he showed good velocity on the night, touching 94 at one point, and he was getting more whiffs than usual. But he also gave up loads of hard contact, which led to extra base hits. That was ultimately his undoing.
Baltimore’s lone run came in the fifth inning. Robinson Chirinos doubled to score Jorge Mateo, who had singled two batters earlier.
It was one of those frustrating nights for the offense. They did not record a hit until the fourth inning, and the only innings in which they had a runner in scoring position were the fourth, fifth, and ninth. As a team, they went 0-for-4 in such situations.
The Cardinals piled on three more runs. Goldschmidt singled in Donovan in the sixth inning off of Logan Allen, who made his Orioles debut in this game. Then it was Travis Lakins Sr. on to record the final six outs. He allowed two runs to score in the eighth inning after walking Albert Pujols, serving up a double to Donovan, and then a pair of RBI groundouts to Edman and Kramer Robertson.
This is one of those games you chalk up to the Orioles being beaten in every phase of the game. It happens, and it’s a bummer, but you move on and hope to win the series on Thursday.
Brandon Hyde’s bullpen decisions in this game should inform us of the plan for Thursday. Allen had looked like a candidate to start, but clearly that won’t happen. Instead, it seems like Keegan Akin will be given the role of “bulk innings” guy, although it is unclear if that leads to a start, or a middle-inning role behind an opener or two.
Fortunately, the blowout loss here allowed Hyde to stay away from the big guns at the back of his ‘pen. So all of Félix Bautista, Cionel Pérez, Joey Krehbil, and Dillon Tate should be available for Thursday’s matinee.
Although the O’s are yet to announce a starter for the rubber game, the Cardinals have flamethrower Jordan Hicks (1-2, 3.78 ERA) slated to take the mound. First pitch is 1:15 p.m. ET from Busch Stadium.