BALTIMORE—Manager Buck Showalter was in no mood to hear about the Orioles’ record-setting 108th loss.
“I heard it yesterday and today,” Showalter said. “What else is there to talk about? It was as difficult as it was yesterday. Same thing. I look at it … nothing has changed since yesterday.”
What changed was that in the Orioles’ 108th loss — the most ever in franchise history — they received a well-pitched game. Dylan Bundy didn’t allow a home run for the first time in 13 starts and became the first Oriole starter to record an out in the seventh inning since Andrew Cashner on Aug. 25. Ahead 4-2, it looked as if he would win.
But two infield singles, a failure to convert a double play and a walk persuaded Showalter to call for left-hander Paul Fry.
The Orioles could have maintained their 4-2 lead, but Steve Wilkerson, playing third base, threw wildly to first baseman Trey Mancini, and two runs scored. Two more scored on Lourdes Gurriel’s single, and the Orioles were on their way to a 6-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Deep starts are a rarity for the Orioles these days. In their eight-game homestand, they’ve had five starts of fewer than five innings. On Monday, Showalter resorted to a bullpen game with Evan Phillips pitching only the first two innings.
Another short start is likely on Wednesday because Jimmy Yacabonis, who’s started only four times in the majors, with none lasting more than five innings, is Showalter’s choice.
With just 11 games to go in this lost season, Showalter is still hoping to get Alex Cobb, who threw on the side Tuesday, to start a time or two. If he can’t, there’ll be several more bullpen games.
Bundy, who gets credit for a quality start because just two of the five runs he allowed in 6 2/3 innings were earned, wasn’t in any mood to hear about the Orioles’ 108th loss. In 1988, the Orioles went 54-107 after an 0-21 start.
“The season ain’t over yet, so I haven’t really wrapped my head around it yet,” Bundy said. “Haven’t really thought about it too much … That’s one of those things I’d like to do after the season.”
Bundy, Cashner and Cobb have each lost 15 games. Cashner, who’s unavailable because of a left knee injury, hopes to squeeze in one more start, Showalter believes.
With the final 10 games of the season against the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros, the Orioles will be challenged to be competitive.
Showalter said the Orioles will concentrate on getting better.
“When we were eliminated from winning the division or being in the playoffs, regardless of what it looked like, that’s why we get up in the morning and go to spring training and do all of the things in the offseason,” he said.
“When that possibility is taken away from you, then you start trying to get things out of the season that helps you down the road. You’re either playing in October or you’re not. But these types of things make people think how far away you are. Those things can change quickly. A lot of things can get better.”
Stewart’s first hit a memorable one
They called it a Little League home run. DJ Stewart, who had been hitless in his first 13 at-bats, finally connected with a sharp single to right field.
Billy McKinney fielded the hit and threw wildly to second, and then pitcher Aaron Sanchez threw wildly home to try to stop Chris Davis from scoring.
Stewart was awarded home, and scored on a single and two errors.
“It was run, stop, run, stop,” Stewart said. “Hey, you’re safe at home, go home. So, I didn’t really get to process the fact that I just got my first major league hit. It was just kind of going so fast the way the play developed.”
Stewart didn’t imagine his first hit would be such an unusual one.
“You run through things may times in your head about how you think it’s going to go, but that’s the great thing about the game. You never know what it will bring you, and I’m just happy I got it done.”