There were some bloops that fell in and some plays not made on defense. But there was also some damage done by the opponent’s No. 9 hitter. It was that kind of game for Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman. He allowed a career-high 12 hits tonight as Philadelphia beat the Orioles 5-4 at Camden Yards.
With the Orioles down 5-1 in the seventh, the O’s offense showed some life when Trey Mancini hit a two-run homer to right-center off starter Nick Pivetta. Jace Peterson followed with a homer to right off reliever Tommy Hunter to pull the Orioles within one run. Mancini had been 1-for-23 in his previous 10 games before his 400-foot homer. But the comeback ended there.
The Orioles (26-68) have lost nine of 11 and 16 of their last 19 overall. They have lost 20 of their past 24 at home. Philadelphia (52-40) has won nine of 12 and improved to 20-10 since June 10.
The Orioles are 42 games below .500 for the first time since the conclusion of the 1988 season.
That No. 9 hitter for the Philles, Jorge Alfaro, singled to right to start Philly’s two-run third. A bloop hit and infield hit loaded the bases with one out. Carlos Santana’s RBI single made it 1-0 game and Nick Williams’ groundout made it 2-0.
The lead grew to 4-0 an inning later on Alfaro’s two-run double to right. Scott Kingery led off that inning with yet another bloop hit and Aaron Altherr was hit by a pitch. Alfaro’s drive to right on a 2-1 pitch doubled the Phillies lead.
The sixth was Gausman’s last inning and Alfaro struck again. He blasted a Gausman slider for his sixth homer and a 5-0 lead. His homer had an exit velocity of 109.8 mph and went 421 feet, according to Statcast. Alfaro had just five RBIs in 25 games over June and July, but drove in three tonight.
Gausman went five innings plus three batters and allowed five runs with one walk and two strikeouts on 99 pitches. He is 4-7 with an ERA of 4.33 and the Orioles are 5-14 in his starts this year.
Orioles starting pitchers have gone eight consecutive games without a quality start. The rotation ERA is 8.12 in that span.
Philadelphia right-hander Nick Pivetta beat the Orioles in both games these teams played at Camden Yards this season, also winning May 16. Tonight he gave up three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 to improve to 6-7 with an ERA of 4.58 after his 102-pitch outing.
The Phillies went 4-0 against the Orioles for the season and outscored Baltimore 16-8. Philly is 9-4 versus the American League and the Orioles are 6-12 against the National League.
The Orioles host Texas for a three-game series over the weekend before the All-Star break.
Gausman on frustration of so many soft hits off him tonight: “I try to base my nights off the type of contact that I get. You know, they put the bat on the ball and you know found a lot of spots out in the outfield. You know, there is not much you can do about that. Try to control what you can control and that is making the pitches.
“I’ve never been a part of something like tonight, where it was so extreme. They probably had 10 hits that were pretty (much) bloop hits throughout the whole night. You know, I came out of the game and they were still doing it. They obviously had a good scouting plan and just tried to make contact.”
Gausman on whether this was one of the most frustrating losses: “Any loss by one run is a tough loss. So, you know, just have to keep grinding and at some point things will even out. Obviously, right now, we are not where we want to be.”
Mancini on hitting a homer to try and get his bat going: “It felt good at the time. You never feel too good after a loss. But I’ve been working on some things a lot, so hopefully, it will start to show up here soon. It is always nice to have a reset. It’s never the best thing to have to sit some games but you try to take advantage of it. Look at the game from another viewpoint. You always appreciate being in that lineup every day when you are not playing. It gives you a chance to take the day and work on whatever you want. It does help from a mental standpoint, I think.”
Mancini said before the game that he needs to stay back on the ball better and he did on the homer: “And the pitch was on the inner half, too, so I stayed through that one well. Earlier in the game, my first two at-bats, I fouled off some pitches I could have hit and ended up being in front of breaking balls kind of like I have been here for a while. But it felt good to make an adjustment there.”
Mancini on the popup that fell in during the top of the ninth: “We were in that shift defense and that kind of threw us off a little bit. We (he and Jonathan Schoop) each thought the other one had it. Neither of us called it. We both heard each other by the ball and it dropped. If he doesn’t call me off there - I started going after it - I have to keep going after it and not assume he’s under it. That is on me there.”