ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—It’s not often that a team commits five errors and wins a game. The Orioles managed to do that on Wednesday night.
Shortstop Tim Beckham and catcher Caleb Joseph each made two errors, and second baseman Jonathan Villar had one in their 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was the first time the Orioles made five errors since June 17, 1999, and they hadn’t won a game committing five or more since June 9, 1983, when they beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 10-7. They made a club record six errors in that game.
In the 17 games Beckham has played at short since the July 18 trade of Manny Machado trade, he’s made 10 errors.
“It’s been a challenge for us, and we’ve got to get better,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You just don’t win major league games very often like that.”
In the first inning, Beckham was charged with an error when he dropped Joseph’s throw on Jake Bauers’ stolen base attempt.
With the Orioles clinging to a 3-2 lead, Beckham received a second error when he was late getting to second for Renato Nunez’s relay throw, and missed the bag. Carlos Gomez was safe at second, and Kevin Kiermaier reached first.
Willy Adames reached on an infield hit. Adames hit a shot to Beckham, who slipped as he went to set his feet and Adames beat the throw. Michael Perez hit a ball to short left that Beckham caught with his back to the infield, but his throw home was nowhere near the plate and Gomez scored on the sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Andrew Cashner pitched exceedingly well, retiring 17 of 18, allowing one earned run in seven innings. The shoddy defense denied him his fifth win.
“A lot of people pull the dirt in around them, but he just kept pitching and that’s the challenge a lot of our pitchers have had when we didn’t convert some balls that should be outs,” Showalter said.
To make things worse, Danny Valencia looked as if he could have caught Carlos Gomez’s fly in the eighth, but it fell for a double, and Matt Duffy scored with the go-ahead run.
Fortunately for the Orioles, Trey Mancini’s two-run double put them ahead in the ninth. However, in the bottom of the ninth, Villar muffed Mallex Smith’s grounder, and when Smith stole second, Joseph committed his second throwing error, allowing Smith to reach third. In the first inning, Joseph overthrew second on another stolen base by Smith.
Beckham and Villar have played just six games together at short and second.
“They haven’t been together that long, but it’s understanding the responsibilities before the ball is hit,” Showalter said. “They’ve been told, and they know. Just concentration lapses.”
In the end, the Orioles won, thanks to Mancini’s big hit.
“That’s what matters at the end of the day,” Mancini said. “It was a very interesting game. I don’t know the last time I’ve been part of a game that we’ve had five errors and won. but baseball can be a very beautiful thing sometimes where maybe you make some mistakes but at the end of the day, still do enough to win the game. And today was one of those days.”
Third base coach Bobby Dickerson, who oversees the infielders has had some difficult days with the trades of Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
“We’ve had some good games, too,” Showalter said.
“It’s potentially there. And there’s not a better infield instructor in baseball. Bobby is one of the most well-respected infield instructors in all of the game. We’re going to figure it out and continue working. Certainly we have their attention about some things that we’ve got to get better at. They need to take advantage of this opportunity they’re getting and some have at times. A step forward and a step back. Tonight was a step back for us.”
Still hitting homers
The Orioles hit three home runs, giving the team 142 this season and putting it on pace to hit 201 home runs.
The Orioles have more than 200 home runs in six straight years, peaking in 2016 with 253. That year, six players hit at least 20 home runs.
Forty-one of those 142 homers come from Machado (24) and Schoop (17).
Adam Jones, who hit his 12th home, will have to pick up his pace if he is to surpass 20 home runs for the eighth straight season.
Machado, who hit his 24th homer in his final game with the Orioles on July 15, could still lead the club. Mark Trumbo, who also homered, and Mancini are the active club leaders with 16.
Chris Davis, who has 13, has a string of six straight 20 homer seasons
Where to put Gentry?
Craig Gentry, who went 3-for-5 in his second rehab game at Double-A Bowie, doesn’t seem to fit on a rebuilding Orioles team. At 34, Gentry is the oldest player on the team’s 40-man roster, and even though he can play all three outfield positions and is a plus defender and runner, the Orioles have a group of young outfielders who might be competing for playing time.
“That’s a question that we’ll have to answer,” Showalter said. “I think everybody loves having Craig on the club. He plays the game the way that you like to see it played, and he’s so versatile. He can do a lot of things.”
The Orioles hope that Gentry attracts interest from other teams.
“Every club, including ours, is in need of a guy like Craig,” Showalter said. “He’s got some value. But what you perceive as value may not be what another club perceives as value. … When he gets healthy he’s going to play in the big leagues for somebody. We’ll just see how it fits when that time comes.”