The Orioles fell behind right-hander Walker Buehler and the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 tonight in the first inning. That was not going to be a formula to knock off the National League’s winningest team and one of the league’s best pitchers.
Buehler allowed just four singles in seven scoreless innings as Los Angeles beat the Orioles 7-3 to open a three-game series at Oriole Park.
The win also is the one that clinched a seventh straight NL West championship for the Dodgers (94-52). Los Angeles has lost in the World Series the last two years but now they are officially headed back to the postseason for another run.
Buehler retired the side in order four times and allowed just one runner to reach second base. He did not walk a batter while he struck out 11. He improved to 13-3 with an ERA of 3.14 in his first-ever outing against Baltimore. He threw 91 pitches, averaging 96.4 mph and topped at 98.8 on his four-seamer.
Buehler’s 10th strikeout of the night - in the sixth against Renato Núñez - was his 200th of the year. He’s now fanned 10 or more six times this season and seven times in his career.
As soon as he was replaced, the Orioles scored. Casey Sadler came on in the eighth and DJ Stewart led off with his first homer of the year. He had gone 84 at-bats and 92 plate appearances without one until his 402-foot shot to left-center got the O’s on the board.
The O’s added two more runs in the eighth to trail 7-3. Chance Sisco walked and Trey Mancini singled with one out. With two outs, Núñez singled to score Sisco and and Mancini scored on an error charged to left fielder A.J. Pollock.
The Orioles avoided what would have been their eighth shutout of the year.
Lefty Ty Blach got the start for the Orioles and was coming off a good outing last Tuesday on the road against Tampa Bay. He gave up two runs over five innings. But this one did not go well for him.
He gave two homers to shortstop Corey Seager, who began the game 4-for-23 (.174) in his career against Blach. Seager’s three-run homer in the first gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead. He hit No. 15 on a 3-2 pitch sinker. It followed Cody Bellinger’s RBI single for a 1-0 lead on his 106th RBI.
In the Los Angeles third, Kiké Hernández led off with a single and scored on Seager’s second homer. Seager hit a first-pitch sinker out to left for a 6-0 lead. Gavin Lux hit his first major league homer, a solo shot, in the fifth off Tanner Scott for the 7-0 lead.
The Orioles (46-98) have lost six in a row and nine of 10 games. After going seven straight games (and going 1-6) in games decided by two runs or less, the O’s have lost the last three by 9-4, 10-4 and 7-3 scores.
Note: This was the 72nd game where the O’s allowed multiple home runs and 42 have come at home. The Orioles are currently tied with the Mariners this year for the most three-plus homer games (36) in a single season. The O’s have lost the past 25 games at Oriole Park when surrending three or more homers.
Blach on the rough first inning: “I felt like I was making a lot of good pitches. They just kept battling and kept fouling pitches off and got me deep into counts. They didn’t chase anything out of the zone and they just leveraged a coupled pitches.”
Blach had done well in his career versus the Dodgers, anything different this season?: “You know, it’s just been one of those years. I feel like just leaving a few pitches over the plate maybe and they’re just taking advantage of pitches they can leverage. But they’re a good hitting team and they always have been. They swing the bats and every guy in that lineup can hurt you. So you have to be on top of your game when you face them.”
More from Blach on tough Los Angeles lineup: “I mean, like you saw tonight, you can get ahead of them, you can attack them. But if you make a pitch over the plate they’re going to get hits on it. They are a quality hitting team.”
In the Eastern League Championship Series: Double-A Bowie lost 6-2 at Trenton tonight in Game 1 of the Eastern League Championship Series. The Baysox play at Trenton on Wednesday night for Game 2 before returning home Thursday night to host Game 3 at Prince George’s Stadium.