Orioles can't find offense in 4-1 loss (updated)

The grounds crew rolled up the tarp and prepped the Camden Yards field, with instructions that tonight’s game would begin at the appointed time. A light rain fell. The Orioles tried not to do the same.

They were down by three runs again tonight but didn’t have a dramatic rally in them. The performance fit the dreary setting.

Cole Irvin allowed four runs in five innings, the shortest start from the rotation in its first complete turn, and the offense managed only three hits in a 4-1 loss to the Royals before an announced and extremely dedicated crowd of 9,404.

The homestand concludes this afternoon if the weather allows it. Storms are forecast throughout the day. Two tarps might not be sufficient.

The three hits tonight definitely were not.

"You don't ever want to play in 40-whatever (degrees) and sleet and the wet and all that, but it's our job to go out there and try to win a ballgame no matter what the conditions are," said Ryan O'Hearn. "Both teams have got to deal with it. It is what it is. Just try to make the most of it and go out there and compete."

The temperature at first pitch was 52 degrees, though it felt much colder. At least the game lasted only 2 hours and 17 minutes.

"I spent four years at Oregon. That's nothing," Irvin said.

"Not the conditions you want, right? But they were conditions that were the same for the game, so just got to deal with them, put your best foot forward and do your best to keep your team in it."

"That's not easy," said manager Brandon Hyde. "It's wet, it's cold. It's kind of in your face. Both teams had to play through it."

Irvin escaped a jam in the first inning after back-to-back, two-out singles by Vinnie Pasquantino and Salvador Pérez. Garrett Hampson walked with one out in the second to begin a string of four consecutive batters reaching base. Nick Loftin poked an RBI single into right field – a deft touch used over exit velocity - and Maikel Garcia followed with a two-run double at 106.5 mph off the bat.

Seven batters in a row were retired before Loftin drew a two-out walk in the fourth and Garcia tripled for a 4-1 lead. O’Hearn pursued the ball in right-center but couldn’t get to it.

Dillon Tate began to warm but sat down. He’d enter after Irvin tossed a scoreless fifth, stranding Pérez following a one-out single.

"I thought (Irvin) was OK," Hyde said. "That second inning, a few too many balls in the heart of the plate that got hit. Gave up one there in the fourth, but just a rough second inning. We didn't do anything offensively, so it's not our best night."

"Stuff was really good," Irvin said. "That second inning there, just kind of got away from doing things aggressively and stayed away from my changeup for whatever reason, and that's just me. I need to shake to it and get to it.

"The mix was there. Got a lot more swings and misses on some spin that I'm not typically used to, so that's a good sign."

Royals starter Alec Marsh held the Orioles to a run and two hits in seven innings, his longest outing in 18 appearances and nine starts. His previous best was six innings as a rookie last season.

"Tonight wasn't our best night approach-wise," Hyde said. "I thought we had a lot of early in the count outs. We hit a few balls hard on the nose. O'Hearn did to left, homer in a lot of places. ... But we didn't really make Marsh work. Got to give him credit, I thought he threw the ball well, really kept us off-balance. Threw a bunch of strikes. But we need to be a grind-out, next guy up type of team, and tonight for me, we had a lot of soft outs early in the count."

Marsh retired the first six batters, but Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser opened the third with doubles to reduce the lead to 3-1. Westburg’s ball to left field exited at 109.6 mph. Cowser’s ball, slapped down the third base line and past the bag, was clocked at 61.6 mph.

Those were the only hits off Marsh, who retired 15 of the last 16. Cowser singled into left field off John Schreiber with one out in the eighth for his first career multi-hit game, but he was stranded.

"Good fastball, curveball had depth on it," O'Hearn said. "Just one of those nights. I feel like we had a lot of balls hit hard right at guys, and sometimes it happens that way."

Cowser was making his first start, and he stayed busy in left field with four putouts in four innings and by running down Pasquantino’s fly ball at the line in the seventh. He had no issues covering the territory or handling the miserable conditions.

"He's played one game over there," Hyde said, "and tonight I thought he played well."

Tate struck out two batters and stranded two in the sixth, getting Bobby Witt Jr. to ground into a force to end the inning. Jacob Webb retired the side in order and struck out two in the seventh.

Jonathan Heasley made his Orioles debut in the eighth against his former team and retired the side in order with two strikeouts. He returned for the ninth and went scoreless again after hitting Witt.

"One good thing about this game, I thought our bullpen threw the ball great," Hyde said.

* Basketball Hall of Famer Grant Hill, part of the new ownership group, sat in the MASN booth during the fourth inning and talked about the “full circle moment” for his family. Father Calvin Hill, the four-time Pro Bowl running back, worked for the Orioles as vice president for personnel from 1988-1994 after a year on the board of directors.

Grant was starring at Duke University when Calvin left the organization. They both spoke to the team prior to tonight’s game.

The younger Hill said he listened to Orioles games as a kid and talked to control person David Rubenstein for the past 10 years about wanting to become a part-owner if he purchased the club. It became official last Wednesday.

* Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s Jackson Holliday and Connor Norby began tonight’s game in Charlotte with home runs. Holliday’s ball traveled 414 feet to center field.

Heston Kjerstad hit a two-run homer after Norby singled, and he also had a two-run homer in the ninth. Kyle Stowers and Errol Robinson had solo shots. Norby also produced a sacrifice fly.

Cade Povich shut out the Knights on one hit in six innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.

The prospects were on display again tonight.

Taking swings at some premature Orioles hot takes
O's game blog: Looking for a series win against Ka...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/