As they tried to end a couple of losing streaks today, the Orioles fell into a three-run hole in the first inning at Cleveland this afternoon. They got close mid-game, but when Cleveland opened up a four-run lead in the sixth the Indians were on their way to a 10-3 win, and they swept a four-game series from the Orioles.
The Orioles started this road trip to St. Petersburg, Fla., and Cleveland by scoring 12 runs in the first five games of the trip. But in the last three losses to the Indians they have allowed 25 runs.
The Orioles (22-46) have now lost eight in a row overall, and they extended their club record road losing streak to 19 straight games. That includes now back-to-back winless road trips of 10 and seven games.
“I think we’ve tried to regroup on numerous occasions now, and we’re going to continue,” manager Brandon Hyde said in his postgame Zoom interview. “No one is going to feel sorry for us. This is a tough league and good teams expect to come in and beat us, and we need to respond and continue to grind. And we’re going to get out of this.”
Added first baseman Trey Mancini, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI: “We’re very frustrated. Nobody likes losing. I’m at the top of the list, I’d say. You know, we all are. We’re all super competitive. And it’s really tough. Going 0-7 on the road trip is really tough. But there is no room to wallow at this level. You have to get out there the next day and put it behind you and try to win the next game. What’s done is done.”
The early part of today’s game featured five home runs hit in the first four innings - three by Cleveland and two by the Orioles.
O’s right-hander Jorge López, who allowed just three home runs over his last seven starts, gave up two in the first inning and three in the first three innings today. That tied his career high for homers allowed and this game marked the fifth time he’s allowed three in a game, and the first time since Sept. 29, 2019 versus Minnesota. This, López’s 20th Baltimore start, was the first time he gave up three with the Orioles.
The Indians took the lead in the first when José Ramírez hit a two-run homer to right. He produced a 106 mph exit velocity in hitting his 16th of the season on a 3-0 pitch in the middle of the plate. Two batters later, Bobby Bradley’s 402-foot blast to center gave the Indians a 3-0 lead.
“He had a tough first inning,” Hyde said of López. “Gave up three there. Couple homers. Left-handed hitters beat him today. Had some sinkers that caught too much of the plate.”
When Austin Hays led off the Baltimore second with a homer off right-hander Eli Morgan, making his second major league start, the O’s pulled within 3-1. It was No. 6 for Hays on a 1-2 hanging slider that he mashed 421 feet.
But Eddie Rosario’s homer in the third restored the three-run lead. He got an 0-2 fastball and hit his fifth homer.
When Cleveland’s Ernie Clement doubled in a run in the last of the fourth, Cleveland led 5-3. The Orioles thought they had turned an inning-ending double play to stay within one run, but a replay review showed that Yu Chang was safe at first. Clement’s double followed for a two-run lead.
López did not make it through five innings, allowing five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked one and fanned three, throwing 81 pitches. He took the loss to fall to 2-8 with a 5.95 ERA.
In this four-game series, O’s starters gave up 21 earned runs over 18 2/3 for a 10.12 ERA. O’s starting pitchers have thrown six innings or more just once in the last 19 games, and not at all in the last 14 contests.
Cleveland added on to its 5-3 edge on Chang’s two-run single to center off Dillon Tate in the sixth. That made it a 7-3 lead, with the runs charged to right-hander Cole Sulser. They added three more in the eighth off Mac Sceroler. Chang hit a two-run homer for a four-RBI day.
“We are not playing clean defense, and even in some of these closer games - not today, but any of the games that have been closer - it seems like the other team has been coming through in that clutch situation,” Mancini said. “We’ve just got to get out of this rut. The 14-game losing streak obviously was not fun. This road trip was really tough and we’ve got to get back home and get back to playing like we were the first week of the month.”
Cleveland (38-28) moved 10 games over .500 and completed a 6-1 homestand. The Indians are 30-17 since April 25 and are now 5-2 versus the Orioles after losing a series earlier at Camden Yards.
The Orioles missed some scoring chances early today when Anthony Santander popped out in the first and flied out in the third, stranding four. They left six runners on base in the first four innings.
The O’s struck out 13 times today and didn’t score after the fourth inning. O’s batters fanned 47 times in the series.
Are all those strikeouts more an O’s issue or credit to a Cleveland staff that average 10.13 strikeouts per nine innings?
“No, that’s an area that we need to improve on a lot,” Hyde said. “Just to be able to have a tougher at-bat. Be able to put the ball in play with two strikes. That’s been going on all year, I think.
“I was impressed with the energy in out dugout. Especially the first half of the game. Thought our guys were pulling, and we’re trying to break this streak we’re on.”
On the farm this afternoon, Triple-A Norfolk beat Durham 10-6 to improve to 15-21. The Tides are 12-7 in their past 19 games, scoring 111 runs in that span. Today they got homers from Ryan McKenna, Dominic Leyba and Tyler Nevin. Jahmai Jones had three hits and Leyba drove in four runs. The Tides pinned the loss on former Oriole David Hess.