Today the Orioles struggling offense met struggling lefty Rich Hill. The veteran southpaw got the better of it, throwing five scoreless innings to frustrate O’s hitters as Boston won the series finale.
The Red Sox got just one run and that was in the first inning, but their pitching made it stand in a 1-0 win at Oriole Park. Hill and four relievers teamed on a three-hitter.
Baltimore (73-67) has lost six of eight games overall and has lost back-to-back home series for the first time since May 31 through June 5 against Seattle and Cleveland. The O's completed a 4-6 homestand that they started 2-0.
The Orioles got an outstanding start from rookie right-hander Kyle Bradish, who allowed just two hits and one run over seven innings. He walked two and fanned three, throwing 93 pitches. But Bradish takes a tough-luck loss and is now 3-6 with an ERA of 5.01.
“Very disappointing, yeah," manager Brandon Hyde said about a losing homestand. "I thought our guys battled today and Kyle Bradish was great. But you can’t get three hits and expect to win.
“It’s a little bit of a domino, I think yeah (with guys pressing throughout the lineup). We ran into this early in the season also where guys tried to do too much at the plate. Our rallies honestly have come in the last few weeks from walks and getting traffic that way. We’re not stringing hits together. Which is good to take walks and keep the line moving. But this last handful of days we just have not kept the line moving very well. Got to get better."
Bradish pitched seven innings or more for the third time in his last four games, and his ERA is 2.76 over his past eight starts. It was a much-needed outing for an O’s rotation that had an ERA of 7.36 the previous eight games on just 29 1/3 innings.
The Orioles, however, had trouble with Hill from the outset as he struck out the first two batters and got through the first two innings at just 24 pitches.
But they produced a two-out rally in the last of the third. After two strikeouts started the inning, leadoff hitter Ryan McKenna walked and moved to third on Anthony Santander’s single. But Ryan Mountcastle flied to left on a first-pitch curveball at 71.5 mph.
The O’s got the first two runners on in the last of the fifth, but again came up empty. Hill hit Rougned Odor and walked No. 9 hitter Robinson Chirinos, but McKenna popped up a bunt for an out and Santander and Mountcastle both struck out — Santander on a pitch off the inside corner and Mountcastle on a sidearm breaking ball at 67.6 mph on the radar gun.
Hill had allowed nine runs and 14 hits over eight innings his past two starts. And his ERA was 6.33 his last six starts, but today he blanked the Orioles over five innings on two hits with 77 pitches. Right-hander John Schreiber replaced him to start the Baltimore sixth. Boston also used Matt Strahm, Garrett Whitlock and Matt Barnes.
Boston had taken a 1-0 first-inning lead on Bradish. Left fielder Tommy Pham singled on a 1-1 pitch to start the game. He stole second base and moved to third on a groundout. From there, he scored on Xander Bogaerts’ sac fly — his 66th RBI — and Boston led 1-0.
That was the first run of this game and would turn out to be the only one as Boston pitched its ninth shutout and the Orioles were blanked for the ninth time.
Odor left the game in the eighth inning due to a right-hand contusion, and X-rays were negative. He was hit twice by pitches today, once on the hand and slammed his bat to the ground after that HBP in the seventh.
The Orioles were held to just three singles today, struck out 14 times, went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. There were just seven combined hits in the game.
The game started an hour and 12 minutes late due to a rain delay at the outset.
In-game roster move: During the fourth inning of today’s game, the Orioles announced they claimed catcher Cam Gallagher on waivers from San Diego and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. They designated right-handed pitcher Rico Garcia for assignment and have a full 40-man roster. Gallagher is the third catcher on the 40-man.
Gallagher, 29, hit .214/.267/.333/.600 in 42 at-bats this year with the Kansas City Royals, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2011. San Diego acquired Gallagher on Aug. 2 in a one-for-one trade for outfielder Brent Rooker.
Gallagher has hit .240/.302/.355/.656 in 171 career games and 469 plate appearances, all with Kansas City, since the 2017 season. He has a career caught-stealing percentage of 21 percent.
Garcia is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA this season for the Orioles over six games and eight innings.
Grayson at Bowie: Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez made his third rehab start today at Double-A Bowie against Richmond. The sport's top-rated pitching prospect sailed through two scoreless with five strikeouts. But he walked the bases loaded to start the third. He gave up two runs there on a two-out single and two more scored after he left the game.
His final line showed 2 2/3 innings on one hit with four runs allowed, three walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 56 pitches, 29 for strikes and his fastball touched 99 mph. He had thrown 31 and 40 pitches, respectively, in his first two rehab starts.
Few more clubhouse quotes
More Hyde on the offense: “I think right now we have some guys that are scuffling and we really, for me, have really big swings. And we need to get back to staying in the middle of the field. Nice piece of hitting by Santander, going the other way on a base hit. We do not do that enough. You watch Bogaerts, uses the whole field and is tough to defend. But we’re taking big swings and getting into bad counts.”
Austin Hays on the offense right now: “We are just really trying to fight to get some runs on the board for our pitching staff. They’re doing a great job for us. Bradish had another really good start today. We just got guys on in a couple of different innings and just couldn’t get that big hit to get something rolling for us. We need that one big hit to open the gates for us and we’re not getting that right now.”
Hays, what are the issues on offense?: “I think it’s just a combination of some balls that are getting hit hard and get caught. (Tommy) Pham made an unreal play on the ball Mounty hit. Ramón (Urías) smoked another ball to center. Other pitchers were doing a good job of not leaving a lot of mistakes in the middle of the plate. Think maybe we’re swinging at some edgy stuff maybe earlier in the counts, making some weak contact. Think it’s just a combination. Mounty is swinging the bat so good right now, it’s just unfortunate that a lot of those balls are getting caught."