BALTIMORE—John Means was sailing along, having allowed just an infield single in six innings. Means had a 1-0 lead when Elvis Andrus grounded to first to start the seventh. First baseman Renato Nunez stepped to his left toward first just before the ball was hit, and it went past where he had been standing. It typified a frustrating night for the Orioles.
With one out, Nick Solak homered to right and, suddenly, Means was down 2-1 to the Texas Rangers.
Despite getting the leadoff runner on six times, the Orioles were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and lost to the Rangers, 3-1, on Thursday night. They had two runners, Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini, thrown out on baserunning mistakes.
“We didn’t hit with runners in scoring position,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We didn’t do a very good job with a situational hit tonight …We had our opportunities. [Means] definitely deserved better, but we just didn’t get it done offensively tonight.”
Means cited the difference for him.
“One bad pitch, honestly,” he said. “It was a changeup that I left up, first pitch of the at-bat, and he hit it out.”
For the third straight start, Means didn’t allow a walk, but he left the game after 6 2/3 innings with a runner on second.
“I think that’s why it is so frustrating, because I feel like my stuff is really, really good right now,” he said. “And I feel like with the way my stuff is working that I’ve got to finish that outing.”
Means spent five days on the family medical emergency list so that he could take time at home in Kansas with his father, who is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.
“It’s tough,” Means said. “I have a different perspective on this game because of everything that’s going on. I try not to let this sport affect me a whole lot. I go out there pretty loose because there’s a lot more things that are a lot more important.”
The Orioles scored their run in the sixth when Mancini, who had three hits, led off with a double against Kolby Allard. He moved to third on Santander’s grounder to second and came home on Nunez’s fly ball to short center.
Delino DeShields throw home was wide, and Mancini scored.
The Orioles had singles from Hanser Alberto and Mancini in the first, and didn’t score, and had three singles in the fourth and didn’t score. Santander, who led off with a single, tried to take third when a pitch from Allard got away from catcher Jose Trevino, but was thown out after the ball hit the umpire and stayed within Trevino’s reach.
Mark Trumbo led off the seventh with a double, and Mason Williams ran for him. Williams moved to third on Pedro Severino’s grounder to shortstop. Stevie Wilkerson walked, and Rio Ruiz appeared to hit into an inning-ending double play, but reliever Emmanuel Clase, who was covering first, dropped Andrus’ relay throw for an error.
Alberto flied to right to end the seventh.
Allard allowed one run on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
“When you get the leadoff guy on that much, you’ve got to capitalize a little bit more than one time,” Mancini said. “Their pitcher, Allard, did a really good job. I know he’s a young kid, but he looked the part out there and he did a good job, especially [with] us getting the first guy on so many times. He did a good job of damage control. You’ve got to tip your cap there, but as an offense we’ve got to find a way to score more than once.”
Logan Forsythe’s RBI single in the ninth, which got past shortstop Jonathan Villar, gave Texas a 3-1 lead. The inning featured a wild throw home from leftfielder DJ Stewart and a hit batsman by Branden Kline, but the Orioles escaped without further damage.
Williams led off the ninth with a double, and Ruiz walked with two outs, but Alberto flied to left to end the game.
The Orioles are 46-94.
Runners stealing on Orioles: Shin-Soo Choo stole second in the eighth inning with Severino behind the plate. It was the 28th straight runner to steal successfully against Severino. He last threw out a runner on June 9.
Three straight runners have stolen bases against Chance Sisco, who last threw a runner out on July 29.
Tom Phoebus dies: Tom Phoebus, who pitched for the Orioles from 1966-70, died on Thursday at 77. Phoebus, a Baltimore native who attended Mount St. Joseph, threw a no-hitter against Boston on April 27, 1968 at Memorial Stadium.
He went 50-37 with a 3.06 ERA with the Orioles and also pitched for San Diego and the Chicago Cubs.
Roster moves: Jace Peterson, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday when Williams was added to the 40-man roster, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple- A Norfolk.
Right-handed pitcher Tom Eshelman, who was designated for assignment when Mark Trumbo was added to the 40-man on Monday, cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Norfolk.