Orioles shut out in bid for series sweep (updated)

The writing seemed to appear on the wall early today. Not the one in left field that robs home runs. The proverbial wall with clues to the game’s outcome.

Gunnar Henderson registered the first two outs by charging a bunt and throwing across his body, and diving to his left to corral a ground ball. Two batters, two more reasons to believe that Henderson is going to be special.

That part was accurate.

The Orioles immediately staged a rally in the bottom of the first inning but failed to score. And they failed to take a lead today or complete the series sweep against a team with the worst record in the American League.

Don’t always trust the wall.

Adrián Martínez shut out the Orioles over a career-high six innings in his seventh major league appearance, Seth Brown homered twice and the Athletics won 5-0 before an announced crowd of 19,883 at Camden Yards.

The winning streak ended at four games and left the Orioles with a 71-62 record, with the Blue Jays coming to town in a hugely important week. Toronto won today and leads the Orioles by 2 ½ games for the last wild card spot. 

"It's massive. Absolutely," said Spenser Watkins.

"Everybody looks at the standings. You see where we're at and where the Blue Jays are at, and this a big, defining series late in the season. We're hungry, we're ready to go."

Watkins allowed four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings, retiring 10 of 11 batters before Tony Kemp led off the seventh with an infield single. Brown led off the sixth with a high fly ball that carried into the right field seats for a 4-0 lead.

This was the first game for Watkins without a strikeout since he failed to retire any of the three Tampa Bay batters he faced on May 22 and left with an injury.

"Assessing what their approach was at the plate, took us some time to figure it out and adjust and move forward," Watkins said. "We had them looking out over the plate early on and we made the adjustment to start challenging them more inside, and a lot of things got a little bit better there."

Brown homered off Nick Vespi in the eighth, the third ball to land on Eutaw Street this season and the 116th all-time.

Henderson stranded two runners in the first on a sharp ground ball to shortstop Sheldon Neuse after Adley Rutschman’s grounder sneaked through the right side and Anthony Santander doubled to right. Ryan Mountcastle grounded to Neuse, who threw home for the out.

Henderson's hitting streak to begin his major league career ended at four games.

Ramón Urías opened the second inning with a single, and the Orioles didn’t have another hit until Neuse charged Urías’ ground ball with two outs in the seventh and fumbled it in the transfer to his hand. Could have been ruled an error.

Watkins allowed three consecutive one-out singles in the second, the last by Neuse to score Brown for a 1-0 lead. A leadoff walk in the third and one-out double by Stephen Vogt were followed by Shea Langeliers’ two-run single and a visit from pitching coach Chris Holt.

Watkins retired seven batters in a row after Cody Thomas’ two-out single in the third. Brown interjected with his home run.

Martínez retired 10 in a row before walking Jorge Mateo with two outs in the fifth inning. Mateo stole his 30th base, breaking a tie with Cedric Mullins for the AL lead, but Robinson Chirinos flied to shallow left field.

"I thought he had good stuff," manager Brandon Hyde said of Martínez. "He's got a lot of life to his fastball, mid-90s fastball, he had a really good changeup. His changeup gave us a lot of problems. Just couldn't get anything going. We had something going in the first, didn't capitalize on a second and third situation, and not much after that.

"We've had this opportunity a few times now lately and can't seem to quite finish. Got to just bounce back. Big day tomorrow."

Rutschman walked in the sixth, his 48th in 85 games, but Santander bounced into a 3-5-1 double play. Mullins doubled off the center field fence with two outs in the eighth and was stranded.

Santander won a 10-pitch battle with A.J. Puk leading off the ninth, lining a single into left field, and Urías walked with two outs, but nothing came of it.

"It's tough," Mullins said. "Just felt like we couldn't get anything going."

The Orioles have scored seven runs in Watkins’ last five starts. They were shut out for the eighth time today and the first since July 24 against the Yankees.

The Athletics won their 50th game. The Orioles will try to build on the 71 they’ll flash at the Blue Jays.

"We have to let it go right away and get some rest and come back for a long day tomorrow," Hyde said. "We're disappointed with today's outcome, but we've got three big days in a row.

"We're playing a division team that's ahead of us in the wild card, so it's a big series in terms of standings. A lot of our guys have never been in this position in September, so it's going to be a lot of fun."

Depends how you get your enjoyment.

"It's the same core group of guys that we've seen for a few years," Hyde said, "and they're really dangerous."

"I don't think anything changes," Watkins said. "We just won a series. One game doesn't define a team. I think we've proven that this entire year. Everyone wants to sit on us once we lose a game. I don't think anyone in here is worried. I think the morale's still good and we played a bad game. It is what it is. Going into Toronto, everybody's still hungry and we see that wild card spot and we're going to fight for it. Everybody in here has their eyes in the right direction."

"We know it's a big series and I know these guys are locked in," Mullins said, "so we're going to come in with the intent of going for the sweep for sure."

Down on the farm, César Prieto and Coby Mayo homered for Double-A Bowie in a 5-4 loss to Erie. Brenan Hanifee tossed four scoreless innings with one hit and no walks.

Max Wagner hit his first home run for low Single-A Delmarva.

This, that and the other
O's game blog: Orioles look for sweep in Oakland s...

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