Further evidence that the Orioles can’t catch a break arrived tonight when the Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco caught a line drive.
Cruel but usual punishment.
Santander was 1-for-17 and 3-for-27 before tonight. The guy needed a single and the Orioles needed more fuel for their rally. They needed to bust out in the worst way.
They settled for one run in the inning, the Indians continued to lead and another loss loomed for a team that only hits bottom.
Kevin Gausman spun a gem, retiring 21 of his last 23 batters and striking out the side in the seventh inning on nine pitches, but the Orioles couldn’t overcome Yonder Alonso’s two-run homer in the second and lost again 2-1 before an announced crowd of 10,614 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles (6-17) have lost 11 of their last 13 games to move deeper into last place in the American League East. They’ve been held to one run or fewer in seven of 23 games and two runs or fewer in 10.
Gausman struck out Jason Kipnis on a 96 mph fastball to end the eighth inning. Ten in a row were sent back to the dugout. But attempts to reward him kept failing.
Tim Beckham singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth to chase Carrasco. Trey Mancini, batting for the first time since injuring his right knee Friday night, struck out against Andrew Miller, but Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single.
Luis Sardiñas pinch-ran for Beckham, who earlier was checked by head athletic trainer Brian Ebel at first base, but Adam Jones grounded into a force.
Cody Allen struck out the side in the ninth.
Richard Bleier replaced Gausman, whose total mistakes tonight matched the Orioles’ run production.
Jones, Chris Davis and Sisco singled in the second inning to reduce the Indians’ lead to 2-1. Santander lined into the double play, the Orioles stranded two runners in the third after Craig Gentry’s single and an intentional walk to Machado, and Carrasco began to cruise.
It was an interesting decision to walk Machado with first base open and two outs in a one-run game, but Jones rolled over on a slider and bounced into a force on the next pitch.
The Orioles didn’t get another baserunner until Machado walked with one out in the sixth inning. Jones lined out to center fielder Bradley Zimmer and Machado easily was doubled off first. He already had rounded second.
Danny Valencia, who struck out twice on six pitches, doubled to the base of the center field fence with one out in the seventh inning. Sisco struck out and Santander flied to the edge of the right field track.
Gausman, meanwhile, was busy lowering his ERA from 5.57 to 4.66 while holding the Indians to two runs and four hits with seven strikeouts over eight innings. The immaculate seventh left him at 98 pitches, but he came back out for the eighth and retired the side on nine.
Carrying a 13.50 ERA in the first inning this season, same as 2017, Gausman issued a leadoff walk to Francisco Lindor and retired the next three batters over 22 pitches. But the second inning bit him, with Edwin Encarnacion’s leadoff single followed by Alonso’s two-run shot to center field on a 91 mph fastball.
Gausman was touching 95 mph. The Indians barely could touch him after the second.
José Ramírez doubled with two outs in the third and Lindor singled with two outs in the fifth. Nothing else.
Same as the Orioles lineup. Nothing else.
Update: Beckham left tonight’s game with a sore groin, similar to his spring training ailment, and he’s also been bothered by a sore Achilles.
Manager Buck Showalter expressed his concerns and didn’t sound like someone who thought Beckham would be in Tuesday night’s lineup against the Rays.
“He’s had a little bit of soreness with his Achilles somewhat, but his groin was a little sore there, too. The thing he had in the spring. He said he felt OK, and then I watched him run to second and it was obvious he wasn’t. (Andrew) Cashner had his running shoes on.
“Cashner can really run. He’s one of our fastest guys on the club. We would have used him if Sisco had gotten on there.”
The Orioles could order tests on Beckham. Showalter still was in fact-gathering mode.
“I’ll know a lot more tomorrow and after tonight, but it’s a concern,” he said. “He’s been kind of playing through a little bit of a sore Achilles, but I’m a little more concerned about the groin right now. Really, both of them.”
No worries with Gausman, who turned in his longest outing since Sept. 19, 2017 against the Red Sox. Tonight marked Gausman’s third straight quality start.
“He was good,” Showalter said. “Not many mistakes. He had an 0-2 breaking ball he left up for a single and of course the home run, but he deserved obviously a better fate. He was solid. Maybe his best innings were his last two. There were a lot of good ... once he got his feet on the ground early. He was impressive. That was good to see. Velocity ticked up some, had good command.”
A performance that went unrewarded.
“There’s things that we gained from them pitching well in the bullpen,” Showalter said. “You’re talking about Ws and Ls, yeah, when you get that type of pitching performance you feel like you need to win the game. But they got a good pitching performance and that’s why they’re as successful as they are.
“You’re sitting there looking at Carrasco and you’re looking at Miller and Allen, it’s pretty tough going. So, when you get a chance to cash something in, you better do it. We had a couple hard-hit balls that ... I thought the double play with Santander was tough because that ball’s probably headed up the middle. You probably had a better angle than I did. When you’re having your struggles offensively, those are the type of things that seem to happen.”
Gausman’s immaculate inning was the first for the Orioles since the stat was kept in 1988, according to STATS.
I thought it was at the time,” Showalter said. “It wasn’t like I was counting. Seemed like Carrasco was doing similar things at times. But that was impressive. It was nine or 10. I had other things on my mind. Outs are outs at that point.
“Kevin, you just see his confidence grow as the game went on. They had six left-handed hitters out there and one thing he can defend himself against is left-handed hitters. I thought he handled the right-handed hitters better, too, tonight. He just had a two-seamer that got a little bit too much of the plate with Alonso.”
Machado’s miscue on the bases to end the sixth inning added to the frustration of the night.
“If that ball barely hits and he scores easily...you make a read there,” Showalter said. “You feel something, you make a read and you go. It didn’t fall. The way we’re struggling to score runs, you’re trying to score everything. Take a chance here or there. I understand what his thinking is.
“Obviously, if he thought he was going to catch the ball, he wouldn’t have gone. He made a really good sliding catch, and if the ball deflects two feet from him, he only gets to second. He made a read and it didn’t work out.”