Akin makes emergency start, Bichette hits three homers and O's swept in doubleheader (updated)

Jordan Lyles began to warm in the bullpen in preparation for his Game 2 start, stopped early and headed back inside the clubhouse covered in sweat. The veteran who prides himself on eating innings didn’t have the stomach for it today.

He tried. The Orioles pushed back Lyles from Game 1, hoping the extra hours would let him recover. He put on his glove, grabbed a ball and threw.

Pretty much anything that could go wrong for the Orioles injected itself into their doubleheader.

Left-hander Keegan Akin made the start and lasted 2 1/3 innings and 42 pitches. Nick Vespi replaced him with two runners on base and Bo Bichette homered to left field.

Bichette hit two more home runs off left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, who covered the last six innings, and the Orioles lost to the Blue Jays 8-4 at Camden Yards.

The sweep left the Orioles at 71-64 and 4 ½ games behind Toronto for the last wild card. They hadn’t allowed seven or more runs in consecutive games since July 17 and 22, surrounding the All-Star break.

Adley Rutschman hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth, his 10th of the season. He came within a triple of the cycle.

José Berríos loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, and Cedric Mullins reached on catcher’s interference to reduce the lead to 8-2. Trevor Richards replaced Berríos, and Kyle Stowers scored on Rutschman’s fielder’s choice grounder.

The last real threat posed by the Orioles, who must regroup quickly.

Lyles had flu-like symptoms, according to manager Brandon Hyde, and Akin volunteered to replace him.

"Late change," Hyde said.

"I didn't have enough time to get Zimmermann ready. It was right before the lineup exchange, so on my walk up there I had Akin sprint down and get ready as fast as possible."

Kyle Bradish remains the starter for Tuesday night, with Lyles' next turn to be determined later.

"Fortunately, we had Zimmermann here and he was able to give us six innings, and with only (Cionel) Pérez, Félix (Bautista) and (Dillon) Tate available," Hyde said. "Honestly, I didn't want to even use Vespi, but it was kind of the way it goes. We were short and it didn't turn out very well."

Akin struck out four of the first six batters faced, and he stranded Teoscar Hernández after a one-out double in the second. Rougned Odor hit a 412-foot home run in the bottom half, after the Blue Jays turned an impressive 5-4-3 double play on Ramón Urías, to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Odor’s ball landed near the back of the flag court for his 12th home run. He dropped the bat and lowered his head after making contact.

Gunnar Henderson and Stowers singled in the inning, but the Orioles settled for one run.

Bichette accounted for three with his own 412-footer, the exit velocity at 109.4 mph. Vespi retired Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on a liner to center field, hung a slider and pounded his fist in his glove as Bichette rounded the bases.

Vespi was the first Orioles reliever to work three consecutive days. He wasn’t the last to get torched by Bichette.

Akin was charged with two runs and two hits. His night was done after Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled with one out and George Springer walked.

Hyde said he didn't stick with Akin because the lefty worked two innings two nights ago.

"He was at 42 pitches after a day's rest," Hyde said.

Hyde tries to avoid using left-handers against the Blue Jays, but he called on three within the first four innings. Zimmermann, put on the active roster between games of the doubleheader, gave up four runs in the sixth and one in the seventh, and the Jays led 8-1.

Zimmermann was optioned after his last start for the Orioles on June 15 in Toronto, when he allowed six runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. The Jays hit three home runs.

They did it to him again tonight.  

The Baltimore native kept the Jays scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, but they collected five hits in the sixth, including solo homers from Bichette and Cavan Biggio, and Bradley’s two-run double. Bradley was 3-for-3 with two doubles through the sixth.

Bichette lined a changeup into the Orioles’ bullpen in the seventh, giving him home runs to three different areas of the ballpark. Hernández doubled with two outs and the rain fell harder.

Hyde needed the innings from Zimmermann with two more games left in the series. He stayed with the Loyola-Blakefield grad through the ninth, getting 92 pitches out of him to spare further wreckage to the ‘pen.

"I think first and foremost is to go out there and give the team a chance to win, and part of that is eating up the innings because of how many guys we had to use in the first game," Zimmermann said. "It's a goal, A and B, to get that done, and I was able to get six, so I did part of the job."

The Orioles made arrangements this morning for Zimmermann to join them as he was headed to Memphis. He had a connecting flight in Atlanta and was re-routed.

"A couple pitches got away from me there, but other than that, I thought I did all right with the weather and battling," he said. "Obviously, would have liked to do better with those two pitches, but overall did what I could do."

Zimmermann is expected to be optioned and replaced by another reliever. Mike Baumann, the 29th man today, returned to Triple-A Norfolk. Hyde said it's "possible" that Jake Reed joins the Orioles on Tuesday.

"We've been pitching so well," Hyde said. "I thought the first game (Mike) Baumann did a good job and our guys behind did a pretty good job. It was tough, the second game. We just didn't have many guys available and Zimmermann is the only guy who could give us any sort of length. And once we got behind, then obviously I don't want to use Pérez, Bautista and Tate. We've got two more games left before an off-day.

"Give Zimm a lot of credit for staying out there and throwing almost 100 pitches and saving those three guys for us."

Rutschman singled and doubled in his first two at-bats. He had a chance to score with two outs in the third, but Bichette ranged to his left to field Ryan Mountcastle’s ground ball and threw him out.

The Orioles were within striking distance, and then the Jays pulled away from them.

They can’t let the same thing happen in the wild card race.

"It was a tough day and we've still got two more games left with these guys that are very good," Hyde said, "and we need to come back out ready to play tomorrow."

Note: Anthony Santander in Game 1 became the first Orioles player to homer from both sides of the plate in multiple games in a season since Roberto Alomar in 1996.

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