OAKLAND – For the Orioles today, having almost as many ejections as runs scored was not a winning formula. While they may have had a good argument with first base umpire Rob Drake, the O’s hitters produced just four runs today, one more than the first three games of this series combined.
When Oakland scored late runs, a close game morphed into a two-run A's win, as the Athletics beat the Orioles 6-4 to take three of four in this series. The Orioles (4-9) head now to play the Angels at 1-3 on this trip and 1-6 in road games.
They scored just seven runs in this series, the first leg of a three-city road trip.
The ejections came after the top of the fourth. What looked like a routine 1-4-3 groundout in the O's fourth, on a ball Trey Mancini hit back to the box that caromed to second, instead turned into a play leading to two O’s ejections. Both Mancini and manager Brandon Hyde were tossed by Drake.
Mancini would reach first on what was later scored E4. But when the throw got away a bit from the first baseman, he was called out when tagged by the catcher Sean Murphy backing up the play. Mancini was apparently ruled to have made a move toward second base after crossing the first base bag. He may have had a step with a slight lean in that direction at most, but the umpire made the out call.
When the inning ended, Mancini, serving as the DH today, was tossed while in the O’s dugout, and Hyde came out and was later tossed as well.
Fredi González, who was already coaching at third base, became acting manager. The Orioles are still without coaches Tony Mansolino and Anthony Sanders, who are away from the team due to illness and thus González was already on the field when the O's would bat.
After two quick and scoreless innings to start the series finale, Oakland scored twice in the last of the third and knocked O’s starter Tyler Wells from the game.
Center fielder Cristian Pache led the frame with a solo homer to left on a 2-2 slider that found the middle of the plate for his second of the year. He drilled the ball 100 mph and it went 381 feet. With one out, Tony Kemp drilled a double and the next batter scored him for a 2-0 lead. That was on a single by Sheldon Neuse.
Wells was hooked after another single put two men on and one out. Right-hander Joey Krehbiel limited the damage right there, coming on to get a fly out and groundout.
Wells has had the two shortest starts for the Orioles this year. He gave up four runs in 1 2/3 on April 10 versus Kansas City. Today his line showed five hits and two runs allowed over 2 1/3 innings with no walks and one strikeout on 54 pitches.
Wells took the loss and falls to 0-2 with an ERA of 6.75 through three games.
O’s starters before today had allowed just one run on 14 1/3 innings in this series and one run on 23 1/3 innings the previous five games before Wells allowed two today. The rotation ERA stood at 2.68 as the game began and that was the best in the American League and fifth in the majors. The O’s rotation ERA of 1.13 the previous nine games was the lowest in the majors.
But the strong O’s bullpen, with its own solid ERA of 2.47, gave up two runs in the Oakland fifth when the A’s extended the lead to 4-1. Murphy blasted a 411-foot two-run homer off Keegan Akin.
The Orioles rallied with two runs in the seventh, but also stranded two in an inning that had more promise. Ryan McKenna hit where Mancini’s spot had been as the DH and singled. Ryan Mountcastle took a high pitch off his shoulder to put two men on and McKenna scored on Rougned Odor’s RBI single to make it 4-2. Austin Hays followed with an RBI single, at 106 mph, for a 4-3 game. Hays earlier had doubled in a run in the O's fifth when they cut their deficit to 2-1.
But in that Baltimore seventh, there were no outs and O’s had first and second. Reliever Domingo Acevedo, though, kept Oakland up by one when he got Ramón Urías, Anthony Bemboom and Jorge Mateo out consecutively.
But just as quickly as the Orioles had pulled within a run, the A’s got their three-run lead back. Against right-hander Dillon Tate in the seventh, Neuse added an RBI single for a two-RBI day and Murphy added an RBI double for a three-RBI day. The A’s lead was now 6-3.
McKenna's sac fly made it a 6-4 game in the O's eighth, scoring Cedric Mullins who had doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch.
But the O's lose three of four in this series and now head south to Anaheim for a three-game series with the Angels that begins on Friday night.