You can point to the meltdown in the sixth inning tonight as a major reason why the Orioles lost to the Rangers 8-5 at Camden Yards. Or you can focus on how the Orioles went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners.
I chose the latter during manager Buck Showalter’s postgame press conference.
“That was one of them,” Showalter said. “We had some opportunities, but you’ve got to tip your hat to (Derek) Holland. Maybe tomorrow, some of those flares will go our way. They hit some balls hard, too, but we just weren’t able to push anything across when we had some opportunities.”
Matt Wieters’ two-run homer in the seventh cut into the deficit, but the six runs allowed in the sixth were too many to overcome.
“Matty gave us a pop there, but that’s part of it,” Showalter said. “Take the three double plays away, we’re probably really scuffling.”
The Orioles have allowed 69 runs in the sixth this year, and the minus-29 run differential is their worst of any inning.
“Well, it’s not true every night,” Showalter said. “Some nights we’re in here talking about the eighth inning, some nights we’re talking about the ninth inning, some nights we’re talking about the first inning. It’s baseball. It’s usually the get-over-the-hump-as-a-starter inning over history. I don’t want to robbing Peter to pay Paul. I like that we’re getting some solid five innings out of our guys.
“One thing it does, it kind of puts you in some situations that you’d rather not pitch certain relievers in, because you have to shorten up. I didn’t want to use Darren (O’Day) tonight, trying to stay away from Gaus (Kevin Gausman) with the two left-handed starters the next two days. I think that’s a byproduct of it.”
Scott Feldman suffered his first loss as an Oriole after being charged with seven runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“There were some balls that found some places that you can’t defend,” Showalter said. “I love our club defensively. It’s just some balls seemed to find some spots. That’s the way the game falls sometimes. Somebody said we finally benefitted from a call at second base, too, so you can look at it both ways.
“Scotty’s going to give you a chance to (win). I thought he did tonight. A little more fortunate with some of the breaks of the game, he could have gone longer. It’s a tough lineup. You can see why they’ve won 52 games. They’re one of the best clubs in baseball, so you try to take advantage of whatever mistakes they made.
“(Feldman) pitched four good innings, really five. Just the sixth inning got away from him. You give up six runs in one inning, you’re not going to win many games.”
The Orioles scored two runs in four of the six games on their road trip. Though they tallied five tonight, they didn’t take full advantage of their chances against Holland.
“Holland’s one of the better pitchers in the league, OK, and so is (Hiroki) Kuroda,” Showalter said. “It’s part of it. Our guys know that. We had our opportunities. We scored five runs tonight. We’ve got to do a little better job pitching and take advantage of the opportunities we get.
“You know, you’re not always going to ... You kind of put yourself in some positions you don’t want to be in when you get starts shortened up like we did tonight.”