OAKLAND - This time there would be no late comeback or blown lead late in the game. But there would be another frustrating loss.
The Orioles allowed two unearned runs in the third inning tonight and could not back starter Andrew Cashner with much offense. They lost 3-2 to the Athletics in front of 12,345 at Oakland Coliseum to start a seven-game road trip.
The Orioles, who have lost eight straight road series, have now lost six games in a row and 10 of 12 to fall to 21-51 overall and to 12-23 away from Oriole Park. The O’s scored three runs or fewer for the 12th time in the past 18 games. They were held to just three hits total and just one after the second inning.
Cashner produced his seventh quality start and the team’s 18th, but the unearned runs given up and a lack of runs scored conspired to drop his record to 6-3 and his ERA to 4.48 after a 97-pitch outing.
Cashner was pitching on eight days’ rest tonight after having his start pushed back three days by a blister on his right middle finger. He first developed an issue with that pitching June 8 at Houston.
The A’s hit four balls 100 mph or more in the last of the first off the right-hander and took a 1-0 lead on Matt Olson’s RBI double. It scored Marcus Semien after his leadoff double.
But the Orioles would use small ball and the bunting game to take a 2-1 lead in the second. Pedro Severino singled and scored all the way from first on a throwing error by third baseman Matt Chapman.
Chapman fielded a Rio Ruiz bunt and threw wildly past first base, as Ruiz reached third and Severino scored. Then the O’s took a 2-1 lead when Hanser Alberto’s sac bunt plated Ruiz. The throwing error made both Baltimore runs unearned off right-hander Mike Fiers.
But then the Orioles got sloppy and Oakland used two unearned runs to lead 3-2 in the last of the third. The A’s loaded the bases on a hit by pitch, walk and a high-chop infield single to third.
With bases loaded and no outs, Olson grounded to third. The throw home got one out on a force, but catcher Chance Sisco bounced his throw to first base and it got past Chris Davis and two runs scored for the 3-2 lead. The second runner was initially ruled out at home but it was overturned on replay as Sisco appeared to have the ball in time but missed the tag.
Oakland’s Fiers began this game as a pitcher on a roll. Over his previous seven starts, which began with a no-hitter against Cincinnati, he was 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA.
Tonight he retired 17 consecutive Orioles until he issued a two-out walk to Ruiz and single by Alberto in the seventh. With two on and two out, the A’s called for right-hander Liam Hendriks. Davis ran the count to 2-2, but was called out on strikes on a 97 mph fastball over the inside corner. Davis is 4-for-41 his past 13 games with 20 strikeouts.
Cashner’s quality start tonight ended a six-game run without one for the Orioles, but they begin this trip with a one-run loss to fall to 6-10 in one-run decisions and to 7-17 in series opening games.
In the second game of this series on Tuesday night at 10:07 p.m. ET, Gabriel Ynoa (0-3, 5.02 ERA) pitches against lefty Brett Anderson (6-4, 3.89 ERA.)
A few postgame quotes.
Manager Brandon Hyde on strong Cashner outing: “I think Andrew did what he normally does and was really aggressive. Had a tough first inning. We didn’t help him out defensively. He grinded through it and went deep into the game with really good stuff. Fastball was in the mid 90s again. He’s got good secondary stuff and I just love his aggressiveness. He’s fun to watch because he’s so competitive. His competitive nature allows him to get through innings. He just did a really nice job getting through six innings coming off the blister.”
Hyde on MASN postgame on ill-advised double steal attempt by Sisco and Trey Mancini in first: “That was just a couple of guys trying to make something happen that was not there. We talked about it at the end of inning. Obviously I want Severino to swing the bat there and he’s got a hitter’s count. That is not really the tandem that we’re looking to steal a couple of bases. But, we’ll learn from it.”
Sisco on his throwing error that led to two runs: “Caught the ball and tagged home. Looked up down the line and he was pretty close to first already so I kind of rushed the throw. Just got to make a better throw in that situation.”
Cashner, is it frustrating to throw well, but lose via a few mistakes?: “That’s baseball. I got a couple of big outs. You know Alberto making a play up the middle, getting a guy out at third. I think any time you lose it’s tough and those things kind of maybe shine a little bit more. But you know if we’re able to win this game, that stuff gets swept under the rug.”