The Orioles’ trek to Texas and back has resulted so far in two losses the last two days - two losses in games where the Orioles held three-run leads.
Tonight, they went to the seventh ahead of last-place San Diego 6-3. But they saw the Padres score the game’s next seven runs to win 10-7. O’s closer Zach Britton was asked if the tough travel back and forth to Texas contributed to tonight’s loss.
“I mean, that’s an easy excuse,” Britton said. “But baseball is a tough grind, our schedule is tough. That is a decision that we made back, what, a few months ago about that game. We knew it would be tough going there. Offensively, I thought we played well. Pitching-wise, we didn’t keep it close enough.”
And tonight the Orioles bullpen allowed seven runs in the last three innings. Right-hander Mychal Givens gave up three hits and two walks to the five batters he faced in the seventh to take the loss. Britton pitched the ninth with the O’s down by one and was charged with three runs. He had a 17-game, 19-inning scoreless streak snapped. It was strange to see an O’s bullpen meltdown.
“It happens,” Britton said. “We just didn’t execute pitches there. For me especially, trying to keep that game close. A one-run game with our offense, we know they can put some runs on the board. Just a frustrating performance, but we’ll come out ready to go tomorrow.”
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“I thought we’ve done well. A lot of guys have stepped up and done really well,” Britton said. “When a guy goes down other people have to step up. It is not something we’ve been focusing on. We’ve focused on doing our jobs, trying to pitch well and give our team a chance to win.”
Pedro Alvarez hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs in the loss. He was also not going to make the Texas trip an excuse for this loss tonight.
“It’s not ideal, but it’s part of it,” he said. “You have to take it in stride and know it’s part of the game. There is no excuses for it.”
Alvarez hit his first two-run homer in the fourth inning and the second in the fifth. He went 3-for-5 with five RBIs. This was his 11th career multi-homer game and first since Aug. 23, 2014. He is batting .311 with seven homers and 15 RBIs his past 18 games. After a slow start, he remained confident his bat would heat up.
“I’m big on just trusting the process and putting in the work,” he said. “You have a routine and a plan. Just trusting that with time and with the repetitions, everything will fall into place like it’s supposed to. That is kind of what I’ve always held onto.
“Been feeling more comfortable. You know, anytime you can get an opportunity to get some ABs and see pitches, it will add to that comfort level. Just getting to know the pitchers a little bit better, seeing them the second time around and just picking up arm angles, whatever it may be. Just feel a little more comfortable.”
Tyler Wilson had an eventful six innings tonight. He gave up a career-high nine hits but just three runs as San Diego went 2-for-10 against him with runners in scoring position. He recorded his sixth quality start. He had innings with 22 and 23 pitches but also a second inning with just four pitches and a sixth with just seven.
“I felt good about the outing,” Wilson said. “I came out of the game, we were there and we had a chance to win. That is my job as a starter. I felt like today was a battle for everybody on the heels of a tough travel night last night and a tough stretch of 30 days to boot. I thought the guys came out and did a great job of battling. It’s a tough loss, but we had our opportunities.
“When you go out for any start, you don’t know if you will feel great, have command of your pitches ... will your arm feel good? Tonight was one of those nights I didn’t feel like I had much of anything and I really had to battle. I really had to force contact early in the count and as a by-product of that, you are going to give up hits. Didn’t want to fall behind and had to pitch out of some innings with men on base. But that is pitching and part of the game. Nine hits in six innings isn’t great, but we had a chance to win the game.”
The Orioles fall to 26-13 at home and to 40-30 overall. With a Red Sox loss tonight, the O’s remain in the AL East lead by one game. Tomorrow night, Ubaldo Jimenez (3-7, 7.34 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles against the Padres’ Erik Johnson (0-2, 8.44 ERA).