Early home runs and defensive breakdowns doom Orioles

The Orioles were going to need more than one run today. More than Adam Jones’ solo homer in the first inning that provided an early lead. More than they’ve been able to muster during an agonizing stretch.

By the third inning, they were going to need more than the four runs that the Yankees put on the board. The rain increased in intensity following a prestart delay of 1 hour, 44 minutes. A black cloud threatens to follow this team throughout the summer.

Miguel Andújar and Giancarlo Stanton hit two-run homers off Kevin Gausman to trump solo shots from Jones and Joey Rickard through the third, the Orioles committed errors on three consecutive plays in the sixth and another loss ensued, 8-5, before an announced crowd of 32,823 at Camden Yards.

machado-home-run-swing-orange-side.jpgManny Machado hit his 18th home run leading off the bottom of the sixth and Danny Valencia produced a run-scoring double with two outs to cut the Yankees’ lead to 6-4, but it was too late. The Orioles already had celebrated the showing of “The Sandlot” by summoning their inner Smalls.

The Orioles are 17-41 after their seventh loss in a row and 13th in the last 17 games. They’ve now scored 14 runs in the last eight games and 29 in the last 13. They had been held to three runs or fewer in 12 of the last 13 before squeezing out a fourth and fifth today, the last on Jones’ RBI single with two outs in the ninth.

The five runs are the most they’ve scored since May 24 and marked only the second time they’ve reached that total since May 18.

Mychal Givens surrendered two runs in the eighth and the Orioles’ home record dropped to 10-18.

The latest defensive breakdowns arrived in the sixth and forced Gausman out of the game. Jonathan Schoop airmailed an easy throw to first base as Gary Sanchez trotted up the line on an apparent double play. Didi Gregorius’ sinking liner skipped past Jones as he reached down for it, resulting in an RBI single and error. Jones misfired on his throw back to the infield after Aaron Hicks’ run-scoring single and the Yankees built a 6-2 lead.

Gausman was charged with five earned runs and six total in 5 1/3 innings, with nine hits, no walks and nine strikeouts.

Miguel Castro replaced Gausman, who’s allowed 12 earned runs and 13 total with 15 hits in his last two starts over eight innings.

The Orioles began the day with 36 errors that tied them with the Cubs for ninth-most in the majors. Their .983 fielding percentage was 22nd.

Not every miscue is documented in the box score. Chris Davis broke toward the bag on Gregorius’ soft grounder despite being within reach of it and the ball rolled into right field for a leadoff single in the eighth. Gregorius stole second and scored on Hicks’ single. Hicks came home on Andújar’s double for an 8-4 lead.

The last 15 runners attempting to steal against Chance Sisco have been successful.

Rickard took his second poor route on a ball in two nights, this time on Greg Bird’s liner in right-center field in the ninth that became a leadoff double off Pedro Araujo, but the Rule 5 pick retired the next three batters without incident.

Gausman struck out three of the first six batters he faced and his fastball was 97-98 mph. He used the splitter to fan Aaron Judge and Stanton in the first.

He tried the splitter on Andújar, who deposited the ball into the left field seats in the second inning after Aaron Hicks singled up the middle to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. He tried a 95 mph fastball to Stanton in the third after Brett Gardner’s leadoff double and two strikeouts, and the ball landed into the right field seats.

Gausman had surrendered three home runs over his last five starts. Andújar and Stanton came through with two outs. Andújar was down 0-2 in the count.

The Orioles brought the tying run to the plate in the fourth after Schoop’s leadoff double, but he didn’t advance past third base. Sisco’s leadoff single in the fifth was wasted. The uprising in the bottom of the sixth only succeeded in improving some of the recent offensive trends.

An ugly stretch in the field in the top of the sixth pretty much cemented the outcome.

Six runs were on the board and two more were coming. More than the Orioles would be able to score.

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