Orioles swept by Cubs in first post-break series (with quotes)

The All-Star break didn’t fix the Orioles’ starting rotation. It’s still broken.

Rest must not have been the answer.

jimenez-high-knee-white-sidebar.jpgUbaldo Jiménez lasted only 3 2/3 innings this afternoon and the Orioles lost to the Cubs 8-0 before an announced crowd of 31,105 at Camden Yards.

The Orioles were swept in the opening series of the second half and fell to 42-49, putting them seven games below .500 for the first time this season. They were shut out today for the fifth time and the Cubs outscored them 27-11.

Jiménez surrendered six runs and a season-high 11 hits. Donnie Hart replaced Jiménez, who walked off the field to a chorus of boos.

The starters in the series combined to allow 21 runs, as the Orioles fell behind 8-0, 7-0 and 6-0. That’s no way to contend.

That’s no way to live.

Today marked Jiménez’s fourth start of fewer than four innings and seventh of fewer than five among his 14 non-relief outings. His ERA has swelled to 7.01 in 87 1/3 innings. Patience again grows thin.

José Quintana, making his Cubs debut, shut out the Orioles on three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts over seven innings.

Quintana retired the first nine batters before Adam Jones led off the fourth with a double. Welington Castillo singled with two outs in the fifth to give the Orioles their second baserunner.

Through six innings, Quintana already had notched 11 strikeouts in an utterly dominant performance. He fanned Mark Trumbo after Jonathan Schoop’s leadoff single in the seventh and Chris Davis grounded into a double play.

The 12 strikeouts for Quintana tied the Cubs record for most in a pitcher’s debut with the club. Matt Garza also struck out 12 on April 3, 2011 versus the Pirates.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Quintana and Randy Johnson in 1998 are the only pitchers since 1900 to strike out 10 or more batters in consecutive games with different teams.

Jones was hit by a Brian Duensing pitch in the ninth inning to give the Orioles four baserunners on the day.

Everything was hit hard off Jiménez. Much of it was redundant.

Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ opened the second inning with doubles to left-center field. Happ got the RBI. Jason Heyward followed with a run-scoring single and Ben Zobrist delivered one with two outs on a ball that scooted under a diving Johnny Giavotella.

Jiménez somehow allowed two singles and struck out a batter in a 10-pitch scoreless third inning, but he came out of the game after Kris Bryant’s two-run homer in the fourth and Contreras’ two-out infield hit.

The Orioles’ bullpen did its part again until the ninth. Hart retired all six batters he faced, Mychal Givens retired all four and Zach Britton stranded two in a scoreless eighth. But Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer off Darren O’Day in the ninth.

A showcase for Britton and O’Day? A team in the cellar ready to concede that it must become sellers?

Stay tuned.

Showalter on Jiménez: “I’ll tell you, his first inning, that was about as good of stuff he’s had maybe since he’ been here, but his command deserted him the second inning and balls he was trying to throw in were center cut and balls he’s trying to throw away come back over the plate. It’s a good team. They’re not going to let you get away with those mistakes. The bullpen did another good job. Darren had a little hiccup, but we were able to stretch it out. We were a little short down there. Trying to stay away from guys who don’t need to pitch.”

On Quintana: “That’s why you have to give up four players for guys like him. I think he’s under control the next three years for them, so that’s ... We knew he’d be having a lot of adrenaline flowing for him today, new teammates, trying to make a mark and prove himself a little bit. He was big. Obviously, we didn’t score any runs, so it’s hard to hang it around ... You start there with Quintana and the fact that we didn’t score any runs.”

On again falling behind big early: “It affects guys. It affects you offensively, but first game of the series we were able to grind our way back into the game. That’s not so easy against major league caliber frontline guys like Quintana. They play to your aggressiveness and take you out of any plan you might have trying to attack a pitcher. It has an effect. It certainly does.”

On difficulty of being swept at home after break: “All losses are hard. We’re playing a world champion team that everyone knew was going to get going at some point. Unfortunately, they are started here. They’re on the top of their game. They have a lot of good pieces. Good starting pitching. We were not up to the challenge. We’ll see if we can get it started tomorrow.”

On why he believes team can turn it around: “We have starting pitchers who have a better track record than they’ve had. It’s been very sporadic. We haven’t been pitching well. The bullpen has done a really good job keeping it in order, but it’s hard to keep it in order with the short starts we’re having. It took a lot of imagination to get through this game, especially with a short turnaround.”

On how he can continue trusting track records: “As opposed to what? It’s been a challenge for us and we have to figure out.”

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