Orioles can’t hold early lead in 4-1 loss to Phillies (updated)

Andrew Cashner bolted off the mound, across the first base line and near the Orioles dugout to secure Maikel Franco’s pop up and close the top of the fourth inning. He was intent on taking care of business today. The rain and the Phillies weren’t going to deny him.

A man can only withstand so much.

With the weather turning uglier in the top of the sixth, the Phillies tied the game on César Hernández’s leadoff home run and strung together a two-out walk and three singles to position themselves for a 4-1 victory over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 29,706 at soggy Camden Yards.

Jones-Swinging-White-Sidebar.jpgAdam Jones homered off Nick Pivetta in the bottom of the first to provide an early lead and the lone hit until Chris Davis doubled with one out in the fifth. Cashner took a two-hit shutout into the sixth, but Hernandez must have been sitting on a first-pitch changeup.

Carlos Santana walked with two outs as the rain intensified and singles by Nick Williams and Franco, the latter a ground ball through the right side, gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead. Richard Bleier replaced Cashner and was greeted by Pedro Florimón’s RBI single.

Cashner threw 103 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and was charged with three runs. He allowed five hits, walked three and struck out six.

The Orioles (13-29) wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the eighth inning lost for the second time in their last seven games. They already lost Thursday’s off-day and must fly to Boston early for a makeup game.

Jones bunted a changeup foul and drove a 92 mph fastball over the center field fence for his seventh home run of the season, which also extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He was 14-for-40 during that stretch before today.

It was the only stumble for Pivetta, who matched his career high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings. Jones and Davis had the only hits off him. Trey Mancini accounted for the only walk.

Jace Peterson was the only Oriole with past experience against Pivetta and it consisted of a single and walk. Pivetta retired 12 in a row after Jones’ homer, striking out six. He also fanned Chance Sisco for the second time after Davis shot a changeup into the left-center field gap.

The Orioles hadn’t played since Sunday’s 17-1 romp over the Rays. A scheduled off-day and a rainout put them on hold and their bats back on ice. They scored 58 runs on the homestand before today, averaging 8.3 and batting .312 while winning five of seven games.

Whether it was Pivetta or the weather, the Orioles couldn’t muster much of an offense.

Pivetta struck out the side in the seventh and reached double digits for the first time this season and the third in his career.

Cashner struck out three of the first seven batters and five of 11, ending the first with Santana swinging through a high 95 mph fastball and the second with Florimón swinging through 94 mph heat. Sisco threw out Williams trying to steal to complete the double play.

Sisco has thrown out nine of 18 runners attempting to steal this season.

Bleier and Mychal Givens each let an inherited runner score today. Hernandez tripled off Bleir with one out in the seventh and scored on Rhys Hoskins’ single off Givens for a 4-1 lead.

In his last two appearances, Bleier has been charged with three runs and five hits in one inning to raise his ERA from 0.40 to 1.52.

Former Oriole Tommy Hunter replaced Pivetta in the eighth and lasted three batters. Sisco led off with a single and Peterson doubled with one out. Mancini walked against Luis Garcia to load the bases, but Jones flied to shallow center field and Manny Machado grounded into a force.

The rain stopped and the grounds crew no longer needed to apply a drying compound to the infield, plate area and mound, as it kept doing between innings. The runs already had dried up.

Manager Buck Showalter on Pivetta: “That was impressive. Elevating fastball, changing planes with the curveball, good late life on the fastball. I thought his command of it, especially up in the strike zone ... What did we hit, five balls hard that they caught, too? That didn’t help matters. I think Manny had two or three. Jon had one. But obviously some strikeouts in between. That was legit. Everything that a starting pitcher wants to do, he did.”

On Cashner: “Cash pitched well. We just didn’t score. We had one run and, what, four hits? It’s up to you guys to evaluate what the story is, but for us, that’s where it lies for me. Just didn’t do a whole lot and the balls we did hit hard were in the wrong places. Can’t guide them too much. Some other hits were ... What did he give up, two solos (one)? Usually, that doesn’t beat you. We didn’t do a whole lot. We had a good opportunity there that one inning, but they got it done, made the pitches.”

On Cashner pitching well enough to earn more wins: “Sure, you can say that about other guys in games, too. Sometimes it kind of works the other way. You keep pitching like that, it will even out. No, he has pitched well for the most part. That was a game you’d like to have out of your starting pitcher when it’s over. It just gets magnified because we didn’t score any runs.”

On whether games unravel for Cashner third time through order: “It depends. I don’t know about unravel. He shouldn’t have given up probably two runs, three. I wouldn’t say that was unravel at all. That’s the word you used. But he pitched well enough to win and that goes to say, I think the most runs scored are in the first inning.

“No, some people you look at that and rightfully so, there’s some stuff to back that up, but I don’t think that was the case today.”

On rain and intensity wavering: “I don’t know about intensity. It’s more when a starting pitcher is on top of his game, like Pivetta was, it can look that way. It can look that way. I thought our guys were ready to play. Got off to a good start. But their guy settled in and pitched real well. And regardless of what the weather is doing and what have you.

“It’s remarkable to me, when I watch pitchers at this level perform the way both those guys did with a wet ball and a wet mound, it’s pretty impressive.”

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