The Orioles can’t be accused of becoming monotonous. Not when they managed to find a unique way to lose yesterday while closing out the Boston portion of their three-city road trip.
It wasn’t a wasted quality start or the typical offense malaise where baserunners are scarce and the opposing pitcher settles into cruise control. It wasn’t a late defensive miscue, whether a botched grounder or popup, or the failure to turn a double play. It wasn’t a close call going against them, where replay’s imperfections are highlighted.
Can’t blame the weather, which spit rain for a short period before the sun burst through the clouds again.
Thirteen hits were wasted yesterday, the first 12 singles. Thirteen hits and zero runs over nine innings, a first in Orioles history.
“I was there,” said manager Buck Showalter as a reporter set up a question by reciting the numbers.
It won’t be a day that gets stored in the memory bank. Better to forget it happened as his club prepares for a four-game series against the White Sox in Chicago.
As long as we’re revisiting a 5-0 loss, it’s only the second time that the Orioles have been shut out while collecting at least 13 hits. It took them 15 innings in a 1-0 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of a doubleheader on May 14, 1961 in Cleveland.
Whitey Herzog led off and played right field for the Orioles. The Indians used only two pitchers, with Jim Perry working eight innings and Frank Funk seven. The Orioles used three, with Billy Hoeft going nine innings, Hoyt Wilhelm two and Jack Fisher 3 2/3.
The Orioles left 11 runners on base, three fewer than yesterday.
The game ended on Jerry Adair’s throwing error as the Orioles tried to turn a double play that would have sent the game to the 16th.
Jonathan Schoop was the only Oriole yesterday without a hit. He flied out twice to center field, struck out twice and grounded out.
The bases were loaded with two outs in the sixth on singles by Danny Valencia, Joey Rickard and Craig Gentry, but Trey Mancini flied to right field. Mancini came up again in the eighth with two on and two outs, and he hit a comebacker to reliever Bobby Poyner.
The 14 stranded runners tied the club’s highest total in the last five seasons. It also happened on Sept. 23, 2016 against the Diamondbacks.
“I say this all the time,” Mancini said, “but in baseball you see something new every day.”
The Orioles surrendered three home runs for the second straight game and they’re 0-9 when the opposition hits at least three. They’ve lost 16 in a row dating back to Aug. 9, 2017.
Though it didn’t factor into the outcome, let’s not ignore how Mike Wright stopped the bleeding with 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo struck out all three batters he faced to strand two inherited runners.
Wright allowed four hits and walked three batters. The outing didn’t do much for his WHIP, but his ERA was lowered from 8.72 to 7.88.
Araujo wasn’t toying with scrubs. He struck out Mitch Moreland, J.D. Martinez - who homered twice off David Hess to give him 15 on the season - and Rafael Devers.
Moreland was dismissed on three pitches - a 93 mph fastball, a changeup and another 93 mph fastball. Martinez struck out on a slider after seeing two fastballs clocked at 95 mph and a changeup.
Araujo came at Devers with four straight two-seamers between 88-90 mph and two changeups that produced swings and misses.
There have been many games this season when the bullpen couldn’t keep the margin intact and allow for the realistic possibility of a comeback. Wright and Araujo did their jobs. They just weren’t equipped to provide a clutch hit.
Note: Infielder Elgelb Vielma will undergo surgery Tuesday on his fractured patella, an injury suffered while chasing a foul ball during a May 9 game in Durham. Vielma tripped over a bullpen mound and slammed into the wall.