BALTIMORE—Manager Brandon Hyde was hoping starter John Means could give the Orioles four or five innings on Tuesday. Instead, he got three, and the Orioles lost to the Oakland Athletics, 13-2.
Means allowed the first Oakland run on three infield singles, and after Josh Phegley reached on an error by third baseman Hanser Alberto, Marcus Semien hit a three-run homer to give the Athletics a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
Means was charged with just one earned run in his first major league start.
“I felt pretty good,” Means said. “I felt I was locating pretty well. I was getting soft contact for the most part. I had a lot of teammates come up to me and say they’ve never seen anything like that with all of those infield base hits. But I felt good. I felt solid. That’s all you can really look at it at this point.”
Evan Phillips, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game to replace Nate Karns because of forearm tightness, pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
Richard Bleier, who’s still coming back from last season’s lat surgery, allowed four runs, a career-high, in 1 1/3 innings, and Miguel Castro gave up four in 1 2/3 innings. Castro committed two balks.
“I think Rich is still feeling his way,” Hyde said. “It’s been a while. He’s coming off a pretty major injury, and we’re just going to be patient with him. Still getting a feel for coming back off of injury, and I just think the shape of his pitchers, that’s what he’s frustrated with a little bit.
“Castro’s got such good stuff and when you throw 97-mph sinkers and you’ve got a 90-mph slider behind it, it’s really about being able to locate and pitching ahead. I think he gets side to side a little bit and guys may be able to pick him up a little bit early, but when he stays closed and he stays on top, that sinker is devastating. Just got underneath the ball too many times tonight.”
Bleier’s ERA is 14.54, and Castro’s is 11.57.
Cobb sidelined again: Alex Cobb was supposed to start today but instead he’s on the 10-day injured list because of back spasms.
Dan Straily will start in his place, and the Orioles will recall left-hander Josh Rogers from Norfolk to take Cobb’s place on the roster.
Straily was signed last Friday. On Sunday, he threw 44 pitches in relief and allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings.
“He’s going to be limited because of the short notice, and he threw just a few days ago,” Hyde said.
Hyde hopes that Cobb can be activated as soon as April 16 since his time on the IL has been backdated to April 6.
Speed bumps: The Orioles had three triples in their 12-4 win over Oakland on Monday night. In their loss on Tuesday, aggression hurt them.
With the Orioles trailing, 5-0, Richie Martin walked and Jonathan Villar singled to begin the third inning. Joey Rickard singled to center, but third base coach Jose Flores sent Martin. Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano’s throw home easily beat Martin.
Moments later, Rickard and Villar tried to pull off a double steal, but Rickard was thrown out at second, and Trey Mancini flied to center, ending a promising inning without a run.
“Those things happen,” Hyde said. “Obviously, it’s one that Flo would like to have back, but we’ve been preaching aggressiveness and Laureano can really, really throw. We know that. Unbelievable throw.
“I haven’t looked at the replay yet to see if Richie hesitated at all around third or what happened there. That’s going to happen again. That’s a really tough job in a tough position there. He’s got a really, really fast baserunner there at second. Looked like he had a good read, but I haven’t seen the replay on what happened.”