O's are shut out at Camden Yards as Cubs win to take the series

After scoring 14 runs in the last two games of the series at Oakland over the weekend, it looked like the Orioles offense was starting to roll again. But tonight, early on, it didn’t look that way as they faced Chicago Cubs lefty Shota Imanaga in the second game of the series. 

Coming into this game the O’s had scored three runs or fewer five times in the last eight games, those two wins at Oakland standing out as good days in this run.

And their early struggles on offense carried through the night as the Cubs beat the Orioles 4-0 in front of 20,694 at Oriole Park. For the game, the Orioles went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

The O’s have lost three of four and four of their past six games as they fall to 29-19 at home and to 57-35 for the season.

They are now 12-13 versus National League teams. Their season win percentage is now .620 and they remain, narrowly, on a pace to win 100 games, projecting for 100.4 wins at that percentage over the full year.

Since June 21, the Orioles are 8-10.

The O’s offense had produced just two runs on five hits in the first game of this homestand on Tuesday night. They went 1-for-19 in the last six innings of that game.

Tonight they stranded two runners in the first against Imanaga, a 2024 National League All-Star, and could not advance Austin Hays after his leadoff double in the second inning.

They were also frustrated by a couple of deep flyouts to left that would have been homers in other parks, but not this one. Hays flew out to the wall in the fourth, and his drive at 352 feet would have been gone in two other parks. Adley Rutschman’s 374-foot fly ball ended the home fifth with the O’s down 3-0. But that would have been a home run in 19 other ballparks.

The Cubs chipped away at O’s right-hander Corbin Burnes, who entered this game with a 2.32 ERA to rank second in the American League, and he had produced 12 quality starts his past 13 outings.

Cubs third baseman Christopher Morel hit a solo homer in the Chicago second inning with one out for a 1-0 lead. He hit No. 16 a distance of 412 feet to center. The Cubs added another run that inning with singles from Dansby Swanson, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Nico Hoerner. Hoerner’s two-out single to center made it a two-run lead.

That lead held for a few innings until Micheal Busch hit a grounder up the middle that hit the second base bag. He reached second with a double as the ball caromed to left center. He then scored on Seiya Suzuki’s two-out base hit to left for the 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth.  

Burnes made what is expected to be his last first-half start his 15th quality start in 19 outings. He went six innings, allowing nine hits and three runs with no walks while getting five strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches.

Burnes is now 9-4 with a 2.43 ERA.

He has only given up three earned runs in five of his 19 games and his season high is four runs allowed in seven innings on June 22 at Houston. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer 15 times, and one or none in nine starts.

It was an All-Star first half, but could not get the O’s a win tonight with the lack of runs.

Imanaga went six innings, allowing six hits with one walk while recording six strikeouts. He is now 8-2 with a 2.97 ERA after a 100-pitch outing. Relievers Luke Little, Porter Hodge and Héctor Neris combined to get the last nine outs. 

Michael Busch had a bloop RBI single in the ninth off Dillon Tate to open a 4-0 lead and complete the scoring. 

The Baltimore offensive frustrations were big in the sixth and seventh innings. The Orioles had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth but Hays took a called third strike and Jorge Mateo chased a splitter to strike out. They had two on with one out in the seventh but stranded that pair also. 

The Orioles were shut out for just third time this year and the first time in over two months. They were blanked 2-0 by the Yankees on May 1 and 3-0 by the Nationals on May 7. 

The Orioles, who have been swept twice on the road this year, at St. Louis and Houston, need a win Thursday night to avoid their first home sweep of 2024. 

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O's game blog: Corbin Burnes looks for win No. 10 ...

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