This is no way to win a series. Orioles’ starting pitchers have allowed 15 runs and six homers over 7 2/3 innings the last two games.
Kevin Gausman got hit hard Friday night and Wade Miley allowed seven runs over 4 2/3 tonight as the Chicago Cubs beat the Orioles 10-3 at Camden Yards. At least the Cubs fans in a big crowd of 40,258 could head out happy.
Now the Orioles are no longer winning home games. They have lost this series and are 1-6 in their last seven games at Oriole Park. They fall to 42-48 for the season. Back at six games under .500, the Orioles tie a season-low mark for games under the break-even point.
It started OK for Miley. He got through a scoreless first on 10 pitches and needed 18 in a shutout second inning. But Chicago started scoring runs in the third and knocked him out in the fifth.
Cubs’ No. 9 hitter, center fielder Albert Almora Jr., was 5-for-8 his past four games and then added two hits tonight in the first four innings as Chicago built a 3-0 lead.
Amora homered to right-center on the first pitch of the third inning. He hit No. 4 a distance of 410 feet for the 1-0 lead. The Cubs added two runs in the fourth on Addison Russell’s solo homer and Almora’s RBI single. Russell hit a drive to left-center for his second homer of the series. Almora drove in his second run tonight after Miley issued a pair of two-out walks in the fourth right after Russell’s ninth homer of the year. Until Almora’s single, the Cubs’ first 11 runs of this series came on seven homers over the series’ first 13 innings.
Chicago added four runs in the fifth to lead 7-0. It all happened after a double play ball left the bases empty and two outs. But a double, two walks and a three-run triple by Jason Heyward followed and Miley was hooked. Miguel Castro came on, and a Javier Baez single scored the Cubs’ seventh run.
Miley falls to 4-8 with a 5.40 ERA. Over his past eight starts, he is 2-5 with a 10.19 ERA and no quality starts. O’s starting pitchers have worked less than six innings in 27 of the last 31 games. The rotation has produced just five quality starts the last 35 games.
Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta returned to Camden Yards tonight and beat the team that drafted him in Round 5 in 2007.
Arrieta’s shutout bid was lost when Caleb Joseph hit a solo homer in the fifth to make it 7-1. Joseph hit No. 4 on a 2-2 pitch, 392 feet. In the Chicago sixth, a Willson Contreras RBI double made it an 8-1 game. In the O’s seventh, an infield RBI single by Rubén Tejada made it 8-2. The run scored Trey Mancini, who reached on an error, and was unearned.
Arrieta went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two runs (one earned), to improve to 9-7 with an ERA of 4.17. In two career starts versus Baltimore, he has pitched 13 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned).
Anthony Rizzo’s 445-foot homer to center in the eighth off Castro made it 9-2 and Baez added an RBI single off Donnie Hart in the ninth. Joseph singled in a run in the last of the ninth for a two-RBI game for the Orioles.
The Cubs have scored 19 runs and hit eight homers in the series first two games.
This series will conclude Sunday afternoon at 1:35 p.m., when Ubaldo Jiménez (4-4, 6.67 ERA) pitches against new Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana (4-8, 4.49 ERA with White Sox).
Miley on the frustration of giving up so many two-out runs: “Yeah, absolutely. As crazy as it sounds, the numbers look terrible, but it felt more like my last start then the previous ones prior to that. Just got to get back into the bullpen and continue to work. In the fifth inning, got the two outs, got the double play and it kind of snowballed. Falling behind with two outs and not staying aggressive.”
Miley on the poor pitching start to the second half: “It’s two games. I’m sure were gonna lose two games at some point in the second half. If you look at it that way, just kind of move past it. We’ve got to keep working. Obviously, we’re not doing our job as starting pitchers. We laid two eggs right there the first two days, but we got to keep battling, what else are you gonna do?”
Chris Davis on Arrieta: “Tough. I think we knew coming in that we had our work cut out for us. Obviously, he’s had a lot of success over the past few years. He’s a guy you’re going to have to grind out. His ball moves so much that you have to make him be around the zone, and he did a good job tonight. You have to tip your hat to him.
“I feel like we had some good at-bats against him, made him throw a lot of pitches and gave ourselves really favorable counts, but we just couldn’t capitalize. He did a great job of hanging in there battling and kind of holding us at bay.”
Davis on the team constantly falling behind with struggling starting pitchers: “I mean it’s tough, but we know as an offense that we’re going to have to score runs for us to win ballgames, especially in this ballpark, especially when it’s hot. I thought early on Wade looked good and I thought it was going to be a solid outing for him, but they grinded him out and they got some big hits and obviously Heyward put the big hit ... kind of put them out of striking distance for us. We’ve just got to figure out a way to turn it around.”
Joseph remembers catching Arrieta in spring training games: “He’s by far probably had the nastiest stuff as a starter. All four pitches. Plus-plus movement. That may have gotten him in trouble here. So much movement that it is hard to control. Looks like he figured some things out over there.”