The Orioles were locked in another pitcher’s duel this afternoon. Last night they trailed 1-0 after six innings but won 6-1. It was 0-0 today in Arlington, Texas through six. And through seven. And eight and nine.
But the Orioles finally cracked. Nate Lowe’s bases loaded single to left won it 1-0 in 10 innings for Texas as the O’s failed to sweep and fall to 7-9 for the year.
The O’s missed a chance in the top of the 10th. With Maikel Franco on third and one out, pinch-hitter Trey Mancini lined a single to right. Franco held the bag at third for a possible sacrifice fly chance, but the liner fell in and Franco was thrown out at home, 9-2.
With a runner placed at second to start the last of the 10th and Travis Lakins Sr. on the mound, the O’s right-hander fielded an attempted sac bunt and threw a runner out at third as Franco made a nice play on a throw that bounced. But Lakins then walked two batters to load the bases with two outs, and Lowe’s hit to left ended it.
Both O’s lefty John Means and Texas right-hander Kyle Gibson were dealing for most of the afternoon. Means began the day with a 2.16 ERA, and it was 0.77 in two road starts. Gibson’s ERA was 4.05, but that was a bit deceiving after he allowed five runs in just a third of an inning in his first start. In the two he made before today, he allowed just one earned run over 13 innings.
Today they both were on.
Which pitcher or team would blink first?
It would be the Orioles, who won the first two games of this series but got shut out over 10 innings today, held to five hits.
In the first four innings, Means allowed just one hit on a single, and in those innings he threw 15, 11, 9 and 13 pitches.
In the fifth, catcher Jose Trevino lined a double at 104 mph to left center leading off the frame. It was the best threat of the day by Texas to that point. When Charlie Culberson grounded to first, Trevino advanced to third. After a walk, Means faced a first-and-third, one-out jam. But he struck out Leody Taveras on a changeup and Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined to center. No runs for the Rangers.
On the day, Means went seven scoreless innings on three hits with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. He produced his second seven-inning outing in four games, and the O’s fourth quality start.
Means threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes. He used his fastball, ranging from 92 to 94 mph, 46 times, his changeup 31, his curveball 12 and his slider seven times.
In this series, O’s starting pitchers allowed just three runs over 16 2/3 innings, with four walks and 23 strikeouts for a 1.62 ERA.
With a chance to get back to .500 missed, the O’s are off Monday before beginning a two-game series Tuesday night at Miami.