For the first time all season, the Orioles bats fell completely silent in Wednesday’s 6-0 loss to the Royals.
Early on, both starting pitchers set a torrid pace that Greg Maddux would be proud of. Zack Greinke started off the first inning going three-up/three-down on only nine pitches—with some excellent plays by first baseman Nick Pratto. Not to be outdone in the battle of the seasoned vets, Gibson cruised through the first inning on six pitches, inducing two flyouts to right and a lineout.
The Orioles got their first hit of the game in the second, with a one-out bloop single from Kyle Stowers. Greinke would then strike out Jorge Mateo and get Adam Frazier to fly out, breezing through the first two innings on only 18 pitches. In the bottom of the second, Gibson quickly got two outs before Pratto doubled into the right field corner. The Royals looked like they would get on the board early as Michael Massey singled into left. However, Kyle Stowers came up throwing, nailing Pratto at the plate to end the inning.
Check out the power from Stowers pic.twitter.com/qbTMuKUQ2c— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) May 4, 2023
The defensive display from Stowers would prove to be the Orioles’ biggest highlight on the night. Both the O’s and Royals went through the third inning quietly but looked to get the scoring started in the fourth. The Orioles got a two-out single as Anthony Santander bounced a ball up the middle. Right after, Stowers looked liked he was going to drive Santander home, as he rocketed a ball down the first base line—only for Pratto to take away a potential run-scoring double on a diving stop. The Royals wasted no time capitalizing on Pratto’s great defense, as Vinnie Pasquantino led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo HR, giving Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles again went quickly through the fifth inning, as an Adam Frazier single was erased by Ramón Urías grounding into a double play. Kyle Gibson kept things close in the bottom of the inning, with some help from Cedric Mullins, who tracked down a would-be double to end the inning.
The sixth inning started off with a surprise, as the Royals chose to pull Greinke despite him throwing only 44 pitches and allowing no runs. The O’s did not fare much better against reliever Taylor Clarke, as although Adley Rutschman slapped a two-out single into LF, nothing would come of it. The Royals got their second run of the game in the bottom of the inning, as Bobby Witt reached on a fielder’s choice, then stole second base and finally came around to score on a Pasquantino double.
After another lackluster top of the inning from the Orioles’ bats in the seventh, the wheels fell off for Gibson in the bottom of the inning. Pratto poked a seeing-eye single up the middle to give the Royals a one-out base runner. Massey then lined a single through the right side, with Pratto moving to third base. Maikel Garcia would drive in the Pratto on a sac fly to right, and then the floodgates opened.
Kyle Isbel launched a double into the left-field corner, plating Massey and pushing the lead to 4-0. Bobby Witt Jr. then rocketed a ball into the left-center gap, driving home Isbel and ending up with a triple. After Keegan Akin relieved Gibson, Pasquantino would add to the Orioles’ misery. The Royals DH collected his third run-producing, extra-base hit of the game, doubling off Akin and bringing Witt home. With a 6-0 lead at the end of the seventh, it very much felt like the Royals had complete control of the game.
The Orioles’ offense never really threatened a comeback in the last two innings. After Adam Frazier led off the top of the eighth with a walk, Urías grounded out, James McCann flew out and Mullins struck out. The ninth inning went only slightly better. Rutschman led off the inning with a lazy fly ball to left. Ryan Mountcastle then got the O’s only extra-base hit of the game, doubling to right field. However, neither Santander nor the pinch-hitting Gunnar Henderson could make anything of it. Tony flew out to center before Gunnar hit a long, high fly ball to right field to end things.
The loss continued the Orioles’ struggles in Game 2 of series this season. In dropping the contest to Kansas City, the O’s are now 4-6 in the second games of series. The good news is that Baltimore still has a chance to win its eighth series of the season tomorrow, and will face former Oriole Jordan Lyles. Until then, though, all of the Birdland is left to stew on Wednesday’s complete dud of a performance.