ST. LOUIS – The Orioles know how easily momentum in baseball can be lost. How it’s defined as the next day’s starting pitcher.
Injuries also can wreck it. They're like black ice for a team attempting to speed toward respectability.
A recent surge left the Orioles only four games below .500 heading into tonight, where they ran into Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas after scratching another player from their lineup.
It proved to be too much for them.
The Cardinals packed a home run and three doubles into the second inning against Spenser Watkins, piled on in the fourth and led throughout in a 10-1 win over the Orioles at Busch Stadium.
Mikolas retired the first nine batters and allowed one run in seven innings, and the Orioles lost for only the second time in seven games.
"I've seen him like that before, and it's a veteran guy who really knows how to pitch," said manager Brandon Hyde. "He's got multiple pitches he can attack you with. Incredibly unpredictable. He's got a really good cutter, a good curveball he throws for strikes, his fastball's 95. He just knows what he's doing out there and pitched like a veteran tonight.
"His guys got the lead and put it on cruise control."
Robinson Chirinos’ two-out bloop double to center field in the fifth scored Jorge Mateo after the Orioles (13-18) fell behind by seven runs. They had one hit going into the inning.
Hyde must choose a starter for Thursday’s 12:15 p.m. CST series finale, and he could settle on a group effort from his bullpen. It won’t be left-hander Logan Allen, who made his Orioles debut tonight and allowed one run on 20 pitches in the sixth inning. Allen hadn’t been on the mound since April 27 with the Guardians.
Allen replaced Paul Fry, who slowed the Cardinals by retiring all four batters he faced. Travis Lakins Sr. had a scoreless seventh but surrendered two runs in the eighth.
The club also needs to determine whether one healthy player is enough for its bench if Ramón Urías and Ryan Mountcastle remain unavailable. Urías hasn’t played in the past two nights due to soreness in his abdomen. Mountcastle came out of the lineup today because of a sore left wrist.
Hyde basically emptied his bench tonight by pinch-hitting Anthony Bemboom in the ninth inning.
Watkins retired the Cardinals in order on 12 pitches in the first and struck out Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, but Juan Yepez led off the second with a 412-foot home run and the Cardinals tacked on two more runs for a 3-0 lead.
Dylan Carlson doubled and got caught in a rundown on Yadier Molina’s bouncer to Watkins. Harrison Bader flied out, but Corey Dickerson and Brendan Donovan doubled – the latter driving in two runs.
The streak of quality starts from the rotation ended at four games. Watkins allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, and his ERA jumped from 3.22 to 5.19.
"Overall, in all my outings, I've got to get ahead," Watkins said. "I thought I did a better job tonight doing that, but just got to be more quality with two strikes."
A two-out walk to Donovan in the fourth extended the inning and Tommy Edman followed with an RBI single. Left fielder Tyler Nevin’s throw cleared the cutoff man and catcher Chirinos, and Goldschmidt doubled off the top of the left-center field fence for a 6-0 lead.
Arenado also doubled and Fry replaced Watkins.
"I thought he had a really good first inning," Hyde said, "and in the second inning for me, it looked like some of the balls - I need to rewatch the game - but just missed elevated middle and they took some good swings off him, some opposite-field hits. Then he had a good third, and the fourth they got to him a little bit.
"Hot night here. And because of our situation tomorrow, we're trying to extend him a little bit, and unfortunately he gave up some runs there in the fourth."
Cedric Mullins led off the fourth inning with a single to squelch any thoughts of a no-hitter or perfect game.
The nine-run margin was the Orioles’ largest defeat of the season. They lost to the Rays 8-0 on April 10.
"For the most part, this whole lineup has been around the game for a long time," Watkins said. "We can learn a lot from these guys. It's a very tough lineup. In the big leagues there's really no easy out, but through that lineup you've got to attack each hitter as if they can do damage."
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk pitcher Kyle Brnovich underwent successful Tommy John surgery today in Dallas. Dr. Keith Meister handled the procedure.
The Orioles acquired Brnovich from the Angels in the 2019 Dylan Bundy trade.
Unfortunately, the Orioles are keeping Meister busy. He also performed Tommy John surgery on John Means and shoulder surgery on Chris Ellis.
Norfolk’s Ryan McKenna hit three home runs and had four RBIs against Memphis. Brett Cumberland had three hits and an RBI.
Zac Lowther allowed five earned runs and six total with eight hits in four innings against Memphis. He walked one batter, struck out six and threw a wild pitch, and his ERA is 10.00.
Adley Rutschman played first base, went 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts, and committed a throwing error.
Double-A Bowie’s Ryan Watson allowed one run and four hits in five innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. His ERA is 2.28.
Rico Garcia retired all nine batters with four strikeouts. Andrew Daschbach hit a three-run homer. Joey Ortiz and Jordan Westburg each had two hits.
Houston Roth allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings for high Single-A Aberdeen.
Low Single-A Delmarva reliever Ryan Long tossed four scoreless innings. Shortstop Collin Burns collected two hits and four RBIs, and Colton Cowser had a double, two walks and three runs scored.