Orioles drop second straight series with 12-8 loss (updated)

Under the most ideal circumstances, the Orioles were hoping to squeeze two innings out of opener Keegan Akin this afternoon, hand over the game to bulk reliever Austin Voth and try to avoid using the bullpen again until late in the game.

That’s how they drew it up.

That’s how it rarely seems to work when the Orioles try it.

The Guardians started former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber in a game that only a reverse lock could love. The baton would get a lot more use than the homer hose.

Cionel Pérez, the third of seven pitchers used today, surrendered back-to-back home runs to Josh Naylor and Josh Bell in the fourth inning, but the Orioles reclaimed the lead in the bottom half on Anthony Santander’s two-run shot into the bullpen. Mychal Givens loaded the bases in the fifth without retiring a batter, Mike Baumann stepped into the fray, Naylor delivered a three-run double and Gabriel Arias homered into the visiting bullpen.

Survival was the new success. Cobble together nine innings and hit the road.

The dust would finally settle on a glorious day for baseball with Naylor tallying six RBIs and coming within a triple of the cycle, and the Orioles losing 12-8 before an announced crowd of 11,304 at Camden Yards.

The Orioles dropped consecutive series for the first time this season and carry a 35-21 record to San Francisco. The Rays won today to extend their division lead over the Orioles to four games.

Triple-A Norfolk is playing a doubleheader and the Orioles might have to dip into their pitching staff. The need to do so will be weighed against the rest provided by Thursday’s off-day.

The break in the schedule will be treated like an oxygen mask.

"We were trying to figure out a way we could finish the game," said manager Brandon Hyde. "Unfortunate because we swung the bat so well early."

Bieber, celebrating his 28th birthday today, has registered nine quality starts this season and was 3-1 with a 1.45 ERA and 0.645 WHIP in four career starts against the Orioles. He lasted only four innings today and allowed seven runs and eight hits.

Six consecutive batters reached against Bieber with two outs in the second inning, beginning with Aaron Hicks’ walk, and four runs scored. Jorge Mateo had a bloop RBI single, Ryan McKenna’s 108.5 mph line drive into center field produced two more runs and Adley Rutschman reached on an infield hit after Adam Frazier’s double for a 4-1 lead.

Rutschman finished with four singles, only one ball reaching the outfield. It’s the most infield hits for an Oriole since Trey Mancini had three on May 4, 2022, per STATS.

Hicks had a bloop single with two outs in the third and raced home on Ryan O’Hearn’s single. The former Yankees outfielder singled again off reliever Xzavion Curry in the fifth, when the Orioles drew within 11-8 on O’Hearn’s fielder’s choice grounder.

Hicks was impactful in his Orioles debut but exited the game after the sixth inning with cramping in his left calf muscle. Not part of today’s plan.

"As soon as it hit probably about the sixth inning is when I started kind of feeling it," he said. "I felt great at the beginning of the day, and then it started to get to me a little bit. I should be good. The day off is definitely going to help, to be able to get there, relax, get some fluids in me and be ready to go."

Being on base his first three plate appearances with a new team, the first Oriole to do it since Frazier on March 30 and the second since Cedric Mullins on Aug. 10, 2018, highlighted the day.

"Felt great," he said. "To get out there and get two hits, got a nice little bleeder there that felt real good, and then get another one right after that, so it felt good. Obviously, I wanted to play the rest of the game but cramps happen."

Akin threw 25 pitches in the first and Voth totaled 25 in the second. Akin allowed a run on José Ramírez’s one-out double that scored Steven Kwan, but he stranded a runner on third base with a groundout and strikeout.

The first two batters reached against Voth in the second and were stranded. Three reached with one out in the third on a single, double and walk, Arias struck out and Andrés Giménez lined a two-run single into left field to cut the lead to 4-3.

Voth loaded the bases again and retired Cam Gallagher on a fly ball. His pitch count stood at 49. He hadn’t thrown more than 62.

He wouldn’t get past 58 today. Hyde removed Voth after 2 1/3 innings, with Pérez making his earliest appearance since the 13-10 debacle in Kansas City on May 4.

"We were hoping to get three to four out of (Voth) but he's just not built up to do that," Hyde said. "He was pitching with traffic the whole time he was out there."

What followed was a parade that nobody loves.

Pérez was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an inning, Givens with three. Baumann allowed two of his own in the fifth on Arias’ 441-foot blast and three total in 2 1/3.

In two games against the Guardians, Pérez totaled one inning and was charged with four earned runs and six total with seven hits. His ERA is 4.87. He allowed nine earned runs last season and already has exceeded that mark with 11.

“I thought we threw some pretty good pitches overall, but they have bats too,” Pérez said through team interpreter Brandon Quinones. “This is the big leagues, it’s not Cuba. So these guys, they’re professionals, obviously, and if you miss by two centimeters that can change the outcome of a pitch. They can put the barrel on the ball and drive it out of here, and that changes the entire way you look at the at-bat, the pitch, or whatever it is. Obviously, it's really competitive here, and we've just got to keep doing what we're doing and just hope that the results start to turn our way."

The Orioles had to get length from Baumann. He came out after Naylor’s single in the seventh scored Ramírez, and Bryan Baker made his team-leading 27th appearance.

Baker didn’t allow a run in 1 2/3 innings, and he struck out three batters. Left-hander Danny Coulombe, also used in back-to-back games, was given the ninth and retired the side in order.

The Guardians began the series with the fewest runs scored in the majors. They're now tied with Oakland at 200.

"It was good to see our offense fight back the way that we did," Voth said. "Just kind of an off day for the pitchers today, just not executing our pitches."

"Give them credit," said Hyde, whose club went 16-12 in May. "They swung the bat extremely well, especially today. We didn't pitch our best. It was a high-scoring game. We just had a tough time getting them out in the middle part of the (game). The long ball hurt us, Naylor killed us.

"We played really well this month. These last two series weren't our best. Those are going to happen. We're not going to win every series the rest of the year and we're going to have tough games. We're going to have tough games on the mound, we're going to have tough games at the plate, but I think for the most part this month I was really happy with how we played and hopefully we can start the month of June on the right note."

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