Well, that wasn’t pretty.
The Orioles, coming off a run of 15 straight games against AL East foes and feeling good about themselves after taking three out of five - you read that right - against the Boston Red Sox, came back home to face some AL West blood in the Seattle Mariners.
And they ran right into a wall.
The bats went silent, the pitching turned sour, and a whole bunch of other things went wrong as the Orioles started their three-game series with Seattle off with a 10-0 clunker at Camden Yards.
It wasn’t as competitive as the score makes it look. It was the Mariners, in from well over 2,000 miles away, who looked right at home from the first pitch, jumping all over Orioles starter Bryan Baker and continuing the assault against reliever Zac Lowther (who, believe it or not, threw 100 pitches in relief. When was the last time that’s happened here?). It got out of hand enough that shortstop Chris Owings got to try his luck on the mound (two hits and a run allowed in one inning, for those keeping track at home).
All of this after some idiot wrote that these Orioles have been a lot closer even in their losses this season. Well, so much for that. For one day at least.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that A) Lowther ate up innings in relief, and B) the Baltimore pitchers weren’t exactly hammered while Seattle built its lead. There were some hard-hit balls, but also some seeing-eye singles, tough hops and bloopers that beat the odds to find grass.
Still. Eight runs in three innings does not an enjoyable Tuesday night make.
It started when Ty France walked with one out in the first and Julio Rodriguez roped a double off the wall in left, putting Seattle ahead 1-0 three batters into the game. Baker managed the damage, however, by inducing a pop-up and picking off Rodriguez to keep the deficit at 1-0. The night wasn’t lost. There was hope.
It quickly vanished. Adam Frazier hit a one-out double just fair inside the right field line. Baker hit Dylan Moore with a pitch, putting runners at first and second and ending his night (Baker’s, not Moore’s. He didn’t hit him that hard).
In came Lowther, but the snowball was already snowballing. Taylor Trammell rapped a ball up the middle that hit off the base and careened beyond Jorge Mateo at short, scoring Frazier (2-0). Cal Raleigh hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Moore (3-0). Jesse Winker stroked a single to left, bringing in Trammell (4-0). Confidence was fading.
Things didn’t get better in the third. Eugenio Suarez walked with one out (oddly enough, Seattle scored 10 runs while its leadoff hitters went 1-for-8 and didn’t get a hit until the ninth. Go figure), and Frazier hit a dying quail single that fell just over Mateo’s head at short and onto the infield cutout. Moore was hit by a pitch again, and Seattle cashed in when Trammell flew to right to score Suarez and make it 5-0.
The Mariners continued jumping all over Lowther (5.1 innings, eight hits, five earned runs), with Raleigh roping a single past a diving Ramon Urias at third to score Frazier and Moore. After a Urias error, France singled to right, scoring Raleigh to make it 8-0.
There was no comeback coming like there was four days ago, when the O’s rallied from 8-2 down to beat the Red Sox, in part because there was no offense to be found. Baltimore was mastered by George Kirby, who pitched six innings while allowing four hits and striking out eight.
The Orioles did have some chances to at least scratch a run across. In the first, Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch and Austin Hays walked, putting two runners on with two outs, but Adley Rutschman was called out on what certainly appeared to be a bogus check swing strikeout to end the threat.
In the bottom of the third, Mateo led off and beat out a ground ball to third for the Orioles’ first hit, but a Cedric Mullins pop-up and Mancini double play erased that chance. In the fourth, Anthony Santander (2-for-4) led off with a single but was stranded. In the fifth, Urias doubled with one out to reach scoring position. No dice.
Those last two words summed up the Orioles’ luck at getting on the board - or, for that matter, keeping the Mariners off it. It was an ugly night, but they happen. Time for a bounce back. The O’s have shown already that they can be up to the task.