O’s can’t hold late lead, fall 5-4 at Oakland (quotes added)

OAKLAND, Calif. - Right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez tonight showed some swing and miss stuff. The Orioles offense meanwhile, showed just enough stuff to get a one-run lead. But the Orioles bullpen could not close it out.

Oakland scored twice in the last of eighth off right-hander Brad Brach to come from behind and beat the Orioles tonight 5-4 in front of 14,330 at the Oakland Coliseum.

On to protect the 4-3 lead, Brach allowed a Matt Joyce double and Marcus Semien single to get into instant first and third trouble. Jed Lowrie’s fourth double in two games was an ground-rule RBI double to center to tie it 4-4. After a shallow fly out, Chad Pinder lifted a foul pop along the first base line. First baseman Chris Davis could not make the over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory and was charged with an error. Given a second chance, Pinder lifted a sac fly to right for the 5-4 lead.

jimenez-pitching-away-gray-sidebar.jpgJiménez was missing bats at an incredible rate early in this game. He fanned two batters in the first, seven of the first nine and eight through the first three innings. At that point, he was at 54 pitches and already had produced a season-high 11 swings and misses.

But even though he would add two more strikeouts in the fourth, he also gave up three runs then as the Orioles fell behind 3-2. Lowrie and Khris Davis began the inning with back-to-back doubles. With one out, first baseman Matt Olson homered to center for the 3-2 Oakland lead. Olson hit No. 5.

Jiménez would leave this game after 5 1/3 innings when Pinder singled back to the box off his right leg. Jiménez seemed to be okay when the camera showed him in the dugout after that play but we’ll know more after the game.

For the night he allowed six hits and three runs with one walk and 11 strikeouts. He got a no-decision, but has pitched to an ERA of 2.63 his last four starts.

Jiménez, with 11 strikeouts, finished with 99 pitches, getting 15 swings and misses. The 11 strikeouts is a season-high and his most as an Oriole. It is two off his career-high of 13, done twice before, most recently on Sept. 29, 2013 for Cleveland at Minnesota.

After hitting four home runs last night, the Orioles got one early on tonight to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Adam Jones connected for No. 22, a line shot out to left field. Jones homered for the second time in two games in Oakland, driving a ball to left 410 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph. He blasted a 1-2 fastball off A’s starter Paul Blackburn.

In the Baltimore fourth, Manny Machado led off with a bloop double, went to third on Schoop’s single and scored when Jones hit in to a double play. That made it 2-0.

After the Orioles fell behind 3-2, they reclaimed the lead in the fifth. Tim Beckham and Machado singled with one out. Then Jonathan Schoop blasted a two-run double to center off Blackburn. That gave Baltimore the 4-3 lead. Schoop has 84 RBIs, a new career-high and his 30 RBIs are the most in the AL since the All-Star break.

But the lead was lost in the eighth as the Orioles failed to get back to the .500 mark. They fall to 57-59 for the year and to 2-3 on this trip that continues here on Saturday night.

Postgame quotes

Manager Buck Showalter on Brach in the eighth: “There’s a lot more to the game than that, but I know everyone’s focus is there. Brad has been great for us, but tonight just wasn’t his night. A couple balls elevated and command was a little off, but so was Mychal (Givens) a little bit. But they hit balls at people. We made some really good defensive plays. That double play Jon turned, not many people make that.

“Ubaldo was great. He was really good, just made the one mistake they made him pay for--the extension fastball. He’s been getting his fastball on the inner half so well and making them cheat for it so his split comes into play. Brad has been great for us. We wouldn’t have the opportunities we’ve had without him.”

Showalter on the foul pop in the eighth that Davis could not catch:Did they score that an error? That’s not an error. I’m kind of glad he didn’t. He could have scored if he’d have caught it. Jon was about the only guy who could have caught that ball and he couldn’t get to it because of where we were playing him in the infield. It actually worked out better at the time, because he would have scored on it. But that’s not an error.”

Brach on his outing and a tough loss: “Couldn’t throw a ball down and away, a little outside, just left some pitches over the plate. A couple of those guys, Joyce and Lowrie put some good swings on it and just didn’t have it tonight, unfortunately.

“Any time, especially in August, when you see the standings the way they are, you see some teams have lost, and you lose a game like that, it hurts. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t help the team, and I have to be ready to go next time.”

Jiménez on all the strikeouts: “I mean it is always good to get strikeouts. On the other hand, it makes you throw a lot of pitches. I think I prefer to get deeper in the game than strike so many guys out.”

Jiménez on getting hit by the ball in the sixth: “Yeah, it was the right leg. It’s good. I was lucky, it didn’t get any bone. Just got me in the side of the calf. The only thing was, it got me in the same spot where I got hit in Minnesota, the last day before the All-Star break. That was not 100 percent pain-free yet and it got me in the same spot.”

But Jiménez added he was not concerned about this moving forward or that it would impact his next start.

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