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Orioles offense lacks pop in 2-0 rubber match loss to Yankees

The pitching staff did its job, and the offense created opportunities, but they failed to cash in.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Although it certainly looked like one of the best lineups the Orioles had put out all season, it didn’t perform that way. Ultimately, a lack of pop from the lineup was the reason the O’s lost 2-0 to the Yankees on Wednesday night, dropping the series in the process.

Five hits were all the Baltimore bats could muster, none of which went for extra bases. But it’s not as if they struggled to generate scoring opportunities. In fact, they had more at-bats with runners in scoring position (eight) than their opposition did (seven), it’s just that couldn’t produce (0-for-8).

Three of those at-bats came in the very first inning, when the Orioles put runners on first and second base with no outs. Cedric Mullins led off with a walk, and then Trey Mancini reached on a fielder’s choice that was initially ruled a force out at second base but after review was changed to an error. Two strikeouts and a walk later, the runnners were in the same exact spot.

Two more chances came in the top of the second. Adley Rutschman walked to open things up. He moved to second on a one-out Rougned Odor walk. And that was as far as either of them got.

Mullins swiped second base with one out in the fifth inning, but could go no farther. Rutschman and Odor singled in the ninth inning for one final hurrah, but instead were met with disappointment as Jorge Mateo struck out to end the game.

There was no punch in the Orioles offense, and it came first against a pitcher, JP Sears, making his first career big league start, and then a rookie reliever, Ron Marinaccio, who had been struggling with giving up too much contact coming into the game.

It’s tough to be upset in any way with the effort from the O’s pitching staff. Allowing just two runs, even against a depleted Yankees lineup, is going to be enough to win most times out. But not here.

Tyler Wells made it through five innings for the first time in three starts. That feels important, especially if he is going to stick as a starter rather than a “bulk innings arm.”

Both runs scored in the fourth inning. Aaron Judge led off with a ground-rule double to left field. A hard single up the middle from Gleyber Torrers put runners at the corners, and then a Miguel Andújar base hit drove in Judge, once again placing Bombers on the corners.

Then it was time to test the rookie Rutschman. Andújar swiped second base. Rutschman’s throw tailed on him towards the first base side of second base, well out of Mateo’s reach covering. Torres scored and Andújar moved up to third on the first big league error by the Orioles’ top prospect.

There was a decent amount of loud contact against Wells that he was fortunate did not turn into much else. In the end he allowed just two runs on five hits, no walks, and two strikeouts.

The lack of punchouts is a tad concerning for Wells, and it is becoming a trend for him in this role, but the Orioles aren’t about to turn their nose up at a pitcher working under a 4.50 ERA pace every fifth day. At least, not yet.

The bullpen was great behind Wells. Joey Krehbiel, Logan Gillaspie, and Marcos Diplán each threw one scoreless inning apiece. That allowed Brandon Hyde to stay away from all of his big arms, ensuring that all hands are on deck for the weekend series in Boston, which include a doubleheader on Saturday.

For now, the Orioles will have to ruminate on this one. A series win was within their grasp, and they let it go. Next up is that trip to Boston, which gets started on Friday. Starters for the games have yet to be announced, although Hyde indicated that a promotion (Dean Kremer?) from Triple-A Norfolk is likely to be in line to start at some point in the series