Notes on Joseph and Cruz, and game update (O’s lose 1-0 in 13 innings)

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph threw out Erick Aybar attempting to steal tonight in the top of the second inning, making the Angels 0-for-3 in the series.

Seriously, I’ll take whatever offensive production Joseph provides in exchange for his 52 percent success rate.

Joseph has nabbed 17 of 33 would-be base stealers. The guy who once was labeled in the minors as having a decent bat, but questionable skills behind the plate.

Joseph played 24 games at first base in the minors, 20 in left field and three in right. He seemed to be transitioning into a utility player.

With the Orioles, Joseph has played four innings at first base over four games. A late replacement with a lopsided score.

Joseph was batting .192/.265/.308 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 46 games with the Orioles before tonight. Executive vice president Dan Duquette checked on available catchers at the non-waiver trade deadline, but couldn’t find a suitable upgrade. No interest in A.J. Pierzynski and limited interest in Kurt Suzuki, who just signed an extension with the Twins.

I talked to one person in the organization who wasn’t a big fan of Suzuki’s work behind the plate.

The Orioles are loving Manny Machado’s work at third base.

Machado has started two double plays in three innings, both on ground balls by Albert Pujols, to bail out starter Bud Norris.

Norris has allowed four hits, walked a batter and hit one, but we’re still scoreless headed to the bottom of the third. Norris nailed Mike Trout to load the bases with one out in the third - his 11th hit batter this season - but Pujols repeated his mistake and again hit the ball to Machado.

When is he going to learn?

Machado robbed Pujols yesterday with that sensational backhanded stop and throw from foul territory that made all the highlights.

Angels starter Tyler Skaggs has retired six in a row since Nick Markakis’ leadoff walk.

Nelson Cruz flied to center field to end the first inning. He’s 7-for-61 (.115) with a home run in his last 18 games.

In 23 March/April games, Cruz batted .284/.376/.580 with five doubles, seven home runs and 25 RBIs. In 30 May games, he batted .339/.388/.748 with eight doubles, 13 homers and 27 RBIs.

Cruz has cooled.

In 28 June games, he batted .215/.282/.364 with one double, five homers and 14 RBIs. In 24 July games before tonight, he was batting .222/.307/.400 with four doubles, four homers and nine RBIs.

Update: Skaggs didn’t allow a hit in 4 2/3 innings, walking two batters, but he motioned to the dugout and left the game with two outs in the fifth and a 1-0 count on Joseph.

We’re waiting for word on the injury.

Skaggs retired 14 in a row before walking Steve Pearce with two outs in the fifth.

Joseph singled off reliever Mike Morin to break up the no-hitter.

Update II: Norris shut out the Angels over seven innings, but the game remains scoreless.

Norris allowed eight hits, walked one, struck out four and hit a batter. He threw 110 pitches, 73 for strikes.

Norris has thrown seven or more scoreless innings in three starts this season.

Update III: Chris Davis, pinch-hitting for Delmon Young, struck out looking to send the game into extra innings.

The Orioles and Athletics lead majors with 16 extra-inning games this season. The Orioles are 12-3 and have won their last seven. The Angels are 6-6.

Brad Brach retired all six batters he faced. Tommy Hunter will work the 10th.

Caleb Joseph has both hits for the Orioles and he’s no longer in the game.

Update IV: And we have a run.

Ryan Webb walked leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun in the 13th and gave up back-to-back singles to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, allowing the Angels to take a 1-0 lead.

The bullpen had tossed five scoreless innings, surrendering two hits, walking none and striking out five.

Update V: The Orioles lost to the Angels 1-0 in 13 innings, ending their streak of consecutive wins in extra-inning games at seven. They’re now 12-4 in extras.

The Orioles are 60-47 overall and 21-17 in one-run games. They took two of three from the Angels in this series.

The last seven games for the Orioles have been decided by one run.

The Orioles lead the Blue Jays by 1 1/2 games in the American League East.

Brian Matusz struck out all three batters he faced after replacing Webb.

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