Orioles waste Cashner’s quality start in 3-1 Game 2 loss (updated)

NEW YORK - Following a game that featured four more home runs hit off Orioles pitching, Andrew Cashner seemed to find a solution in the nightcap by limiting the contact against him.

Can’t drive the ball over the fence if you can’t touch it.

Cashner-Side-Black-sidebar.jpgCashner struck out six of the first nine batters he faced. A four-seam fastball averaging 93.87 mph, according to brooksbaseball.net, was sitting at 96.

The Yankees didn’t get their first hit until DJ LeMahieu’s comebacker with two outs in the third inning that nailed Cashner below his glove hand. Cashner stayed in the game after a visit from head athletic trainer Brian Ebel, and Luke Voit roped a run-scoring double to left-center field on the next pitch.

Gleyber Torres led off the fourth inning with his third home run of the day, raising the Orioles’ season total to 89, and the Yankees completed the sweep with a 3-1 victory in the Bronx.

Cashner turned in his fourth quality start, and second in a row, while lowering his ERA to 4.10. He allowed two runs and four hits over six innings and had two walks and seven strikeouts, but the offensive support was lacking and a brief stumble sealed his fate.

The Orioles are 14-28 overall and 8-13 on the road as they head to Cleveland. They’ve lost six of their last seven games.

Shawn Armstrong hadn’t allowed a run in his first four appearances with the Orioles, but the streak ended in the seventh on Voit’s RBI single with two outs.

Cashner struck out the first four batters on his slider, changeup and fastballs clocked at 96.5 and 96 mph. He walked Kendrys Morales on four pitches, retired Clint Frazier on a long fly ball to right-center field and struck out Mike Tauchman on another 96 mph fastball.

Five strikeouts among the first seven hitters. His season high was eight. Seemed like a pretty good bet that he would eclipse it.

Cashner’s career high is 12 against the Mets on June 1, 2015.

Thairo Estrada’s strikeout in the third, immediately before LeMahieu’s comebacker, was the last from Cashner until Aaron Hicks swung through a changeup to strand a runner in the fifth.

Voit’s double would have produced an out at the plate with a more accurate relay from Hanser Alberto, whose throw sailed up the first base line and forced catcher Pedro Severino to attempt a lunging tag. The ball easily beat the runner.

Domingo Germán retired the first eight Orioles before Joey Rickard doubled down the left field line. Rickard had hits in his last two at-bats in Game 1.

Jonathan Villar struck out for the second time to end the threat, but the Orioles reduced the lead to 2-1 in the fifth on singles by Stevie Wilkerson and Rio Ruiz and Alberto’s sacrifice fly.

Villar reached on an infield hit leading off the sixth and was thrown out trying to steal. Chris Davis and Ruiz singled in the seventh, but Brett Gardner made a sliding catch of Alberto’s liner after entering the game. Severino walked with two outs and Rickard grounded into a force.

The Orioles were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in Game 1 and 0-for-5 in Game 2 after Rickard’s grounder that kept the Yankees ahead 2-1.

Villar led off the eighth inning with a single off Zack Britton and moved to second on Tauchman’s error. Britton struck out Dwight Smith Jr. and Trey Mancini and retired Renato Núñez, who was pinch-hitting for Davis, on a ground ball to third.

The three failed at-bats left the Orioles 0-for-8 with RISP.

Aroldis Chapman recorded saves in both ends of the doubleheader.

Update: The Orioles returned reliever Evan Phillips to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.

Manager Brandon Hyde on Cashner: “Cash, I thought it was some of the best stuff he’s had all year. From the first inning he was 95-96 with a really good breaking ball and he just really, really pitched well against a really tough lineup. I just thought it was a really good effort.”

Hyde on Cashner not pitching the seventh: “Yeah, we talked after the sixth, and he wasted some bullets there and he felt he was a little fatigued, and so we just decided to go with somebody else.”

Hyde on how Cashner’s getting stronger: “I think from opening day ‘til now you’re seeing his fastball velo spike and the command is better, and I love the way he’s attacking hitters. Great tempo, multiple pitches for strikes, facing tough lineups. He’s doing a great job.”

Hyde on comebacker that hit Cashner: “He took a comebacker off his thumb and kind of bent it back a little bit, but he’s OK.”

Hyde on RISP today: “We’re facing a pretty good pitching staff. We faced Britton twice in a day and Chapman twice in a day. It doesn’t get much harder than that. We were in both games, a couple hits short. They hit a couple more home runs than we did in the first game, and one more than we did in the second game. Yeah, we just came up a little short in both games.”

Hyde on RISP issue all season: “I think all teams kind of go through those struggles at times. I think when you’re not scoring a ton of runs and you’re in that kind of a situation, it’s natural to press. Guys try to do too much, maybe, and try to score the guy instead of taking their at-bat. So I just think we still have to continue to have a middle-of-the-field approach and be able to think through the big part of the field and not try to do too much when we have runners out there.”

Cashner on whether this was his best stuff: “Personally, I think my best stuff was the White Sox at their place. I think I’ve got a good feel right now. I think it’s just a full mix of pitches. I’m really working on my curveball, so I think that’s a big part. I think it comes down to fastball command and working both sides of the plate.”

Cashner on his left hand: “It’ll be all right. It’s a little swollen. I’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”

Cashner on seeing improvements start to start: “I think that there’s definitely been improvement. I think it’s getting a changeup out, spinning my curveball. Consistently, the White Sox was the best stuff that I’ve carried throughout a game. I think it’s also getting them to swing at the pitches I want, and I think I got some swings on a lot of pitches I wanted swings on tonight.”

Wilkerson on tough loss despite opportunities: “We just didn’t get the big hit tonight. We had some opportunities to do that and just didn’t get the job done.”

Wilkerson on Yankees bullpen: “They’ve got some really good arms in there. Britton and Chapman throwing in both games, it’s tough to get things going against them.”

Wilkerson on Germán: “His fastball was pretty good, his changeup and curveball were pretty good, as well. He was a tough at-bat all game. He threw pretty well.”

Wilkerson on Cashner: “He’s doing what he’s been doing all year. He gave us another quality start and it was fun to watch in center field. He really threw the ball well.”

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