BALTIMORE—Whether they were the home team or the road team in this unusual four-game series, the Orioles couldn’t find a way to beat the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins came to Baltimore to make up the four games postponed last week when at least 18 of their players tested positive for Covid-19 and caused an eight-day layoff.
A rebuilt team pulled off a four-game sweep of the Orioles to improve to 6-1. In the first three games of the series, the Orioles scored just one run on 10 hits. In Thursday’s finale, in which they served as the visiting team for the second straight game, the Orioles hit four home runs but poor pitching and fielding led to an 8-7 loss at Camden Yards.
The Orioles’ three-game sweep of Tampa Bay last weekend seems long ago and far away, and their record is 5-7.
“We had a few plays that we didn’t make that hurt tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said in a video conference call. “Happy with how we swung the bat, nice to see our guys come out and answer their runs early. Pleased with the offense. We’ve done a fairly nice job of taking care of the ball so far. Tonight wasn’t our best night.”
With the scored tied at 6, reliever Evan Phillips walked Jon Berti to lead off the seventh. Francisco Cervelli grounded a single past third baseman Pat Valaika, subbing for the injured Rio Ruiz, and leftfielder Dwight Smith Jr. misplayed the ball, allowing Berti to go to third.
Mychal Givens replaced Phillips and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jesus Aguilar. Brian Anderson’s triple scored Cervelli, and Miami led, 8-6.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis led off the ninth with a double to left, just his second hit in 23 at-bats. He scored on Pedro Severino’s single. Hanser Alberto hit into a double play. Anthony Santander singled, and José Iglesias bounced into a force to end it.
Mike Morin retired all six batters he faced for the win. Phillips was charged with the loss. Brandon Kintzler picked up his third save.
Former Oriole Jonathan Villar hit Wade LeBlanc’s first pitch for a home run, and Renato Nuñez tied it with his third homer in the top of the second.
In the bottom of the second, Maneuris Sierra’s fly ball scored Lewis Brinson. In the top of the third, the Orioles took a 3-2 lead on Alberto’s single, Santander’s triple and Smith’s sacrifice fly to center.
With two outs in the third, Cervelli doubled, and Aguilar hit a shot to third. Valaika’s throw to first wasn’t in time to get Aguilar, who moved to second when Davis threw home and catcher Chance Sisco threw to third because Cervelli had started toward home plate. Anderson then drove home Cervelli and Aguilar with a single, and Miami led, 4-3.
Sisco’s first home run against Jordan Yamamoto tied it in the top of the fourth.
Fosythe singled to start the fourth, and Sierra was hit by a pitch. With one out, Villar singled to right to score Forsythe. Santander’s ill-advised throw to third was offline for an error, allowing Sierra to score, and the Orioles trailed, 6-4.
“We misplayed a few balls,” Hyde said. “Tried to throw to a place when the play wasn’t there, things that we haven’t been doing, so I would assume this was just a tough night defensively.”
Smith and Nunez homered to begin the sixth, and the score was tied at 6.
LeBlanc was charged with six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.
“It’s frustrating any time you think you have something good going, and you show up and one day it’s there, and the next day it’s not,” LeBlanc said.
“Tonight, you have an offense that’s scratching and clawing, and getting some big home runs and some leads. To just give the leads right back is frustrating, a frustrating night on all fronts.”
Sisco’s on-base percentage: Sisco was 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s been on base 11 times in 17 plate appearances (.647) with five hits, five walks and a hit by pitch.
“I think it comes with being in a good position to hit and being able to repeat that,” Sisco said. “If I can repeat them consistently, it allows me to see the ball better and put good swings on pitches and lay off pitches.”
Castro starts strong: Miguel Castro has had a solid start to his season. He’s thrown 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking one and striking out eight.
He enjoyed playing with Richard Bleier, who was traded to Miami after last Friday’s game.
“It was sad to see Richard go, but this is part of the business,” Castro said through a translator. “On the bullpen side, it’s been very competitive. Guys have been ready for when they get the ball. Pretty confident the bullpen’s going to be good.”
Castro realizes there’s not much room for error.
“So far things have been good,” Castro said. “[I] understand it’s only 60 games this year. You’ve got to stay ready. It’s a matter of staying focused and staying competitive.”
Coming up: The Orioles play Washington at Nationals Park at 6:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday’s game is at 12:35 p.m. Tommy Milone will pitch for the Orioles on Friday night. Other pitchers for the series have yet to be announced.
Schedule changes: Major League Baseball has announced two schedule changes for the Orioles.
On August 19th, their game against Toronto has been changed to 1:05 p.m. The scheduled game against the New York Yankees, which was to be played Wednesday, will be made up as part of a doubleheader on September 4 at 5:05 p.m.
Question call: Next week, I’ll be answering Orioles questions. Please either leave your questions in the comments or send them to me: [email protected].