DENVER—It’s been a horrible week for reliever Mychal Givens. For the third time in five games, Givens fell apart in the ninth inning, and the Orioles suffered another difficult loss.
Givens, who had walked home the winning run on Thursday against the Yankees, gave up a walkoff, two-run home run to Trevor Story, his second of the game, in the Colorado Rockies’ come-from-behind 8-6 victory over the Orioles.
The Orioles, who lost for the seventh straight time, led 5-1, and carried a 6-3 lead into the seventh after Branden Kline struck out the side in the sixth. Richard Bleier retired the first two batters in the seventh before allowing a single to Raimel Tapia.
Shawn Armstrong, who had an 0.93 ERA since joining the Orioles, allowed a two-run home run to Story to make it 6-5. Nolan Arenando, who homered in the first, followed with another homer, and it was 6-6.
In the ninth, Givens allowed a leadoff single to Ryan McMahon. With one out, Story homered to right for the game-winner.
Before this week, Givens had six straight scoreless outings, and his ERA was 2.75. He allowed five runs to the New York Yankees on Monday, and the ninth-inning run on Thursday. His ERA is 5.64.
Manager Brandon Hyde isn’t sure what the problem is.
“Maybe not locating like he was,” Hyde said. “His fastball’s velo’s good. His slider is sharp at times. I don’t see any drop in stuff-wise. [Thursday] he was erratic after the two strikeouts and tonight it was like he [wasn’t] able to locate. I saw some arm-side misses, so obviously I have to give him some time off.
“Paul Fry, I’ve got to give time off. Because we’re in all these games and it’s … I just want to take care of these guys because we’re not getting blown out. We’re in a lot of baseball games. You try to use your guys when you’re in games, and we just haven’t done it the past couple of games.”
Hyde isn’t sure where he can turn with his bullpen.
“It’s concerning,” he said. “I don’t want to overuse guys, and I don’t want to abuse guys. We have an eight-man ‘pen … We’re just throwing a lot of pitches, every single night, and we’re having a tough time putting people away. We’re having a tough time getting early contact outs. It seems like we’re just not getting guys out in a timely fashion where they can go back out the next inning. It’s just a little bit of a rough patch, for sure, for our bullpen.”
The Orioles are in a stretch in which they’re playing nine consecutive games against teams with records below .500. Their last three losses have been by one or two runs.
“I would hope that they want to be in those situations,” Hyde said. “I think they do want to be in those types of games and those types of situations.
“We’re in a lot of really close games, which is awesome. It’s a lot of fun. And I hope that we continue to play that way. I would love to see us start extending leads a little bit more and being able to give our bullpen a breather. I’d love to see our starters go a little deeper. But I don’t know. I’ve got to start taking care of some of these guys.”
Means’ night: Starter John Means had an eventful interleague debut. Means pitched five innings and had two productive at-bats.
The Orioles hadn’t played in Coors Field since 2004, and their pitchers were looking forward to hitting.
Means, who allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings, batted twice, executing a sacrifice bunt in the second, and drawing walk in the fourth.
After Jonathan Villar doubled, Means made it to third. Stevie Wilkerson grounded to second, and Villar broke for third, not realizing Means was still there. As Villar was chased back, Means broke for home, and was easily tagged out.
Means said there was noting especially difficult about pitching in Coors Field.
“It’s a little different but baseball’s baseball,” Means said. “You get the swings and misses, you do well. If you don’t, then you don’t do well. I felt OK. I felt like I’m trying to figure some things out and there’s definitely stuff to build on.”
Broxton’s debut: On the first pitch he saw as an Oriole, Keon Broxton blasted a home run to left estimated at 474 feet. Broxton, who didn’t homer with the New York Mets, gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the third. He was called out on strikes in his next two at-bats before an infield single in the eighth.
It was Broxton’s first home run since Game 4 of last year’s National League Division Series, when he played at Coors Field for the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I was actually going to bunt right then,” Broxton said. “Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Arenado back. A couple seconds before the pitch came, I saw him creeping up, so I was like, Ah, I’m swinging. But walking up to the plate, I thought, ‘If I get a good pitch, I’m definitely going to let it loose.’ I haven’t seen a pitch in a while. I want to see where I’m at, and I got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.”