BALTIMORE–The Orioles fell victim to baseball’s hottest team on Friday night, even if the Oakland Athletics were hardly playing at their best.
Oakland won its 12th straight game, as the Orioles failed to capitalize on numerous scoring chances and lost, 3-1, before 7,574 at Oriole Park.
The Orioles are 8-11 and 1-7 at home.
It was a frustrating game for the Orioles, who had 10 hits, nine of them singles, and left 10 on base.
Centerfielder Cedric Mullins led off the first with a double to center, took third on a fly to right by Austin Hays and was left there.
The Orioles then fell behind as starter Jorge López walked Mitch Moreland and Sean Murphy to begin the second and both scored. They moved up a base on a López wild pitch, and Moreland came home on Seth Brown’s infield out. Stephen Piscotty’s single to left drove in Murphy for a 2-0 Oakland lead.
“I thought he came out and threw the ball great in the first inning,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Second inning, I felt like he lost his aggressiveness there.”
Catcher Pedro Severino agreed with Hyde.
“He tried to hit every spot, just perfect,” Severino said.
In the bottom of the fourth, Maikel Franco singled with one out. DJ Stewart grounded to first. Matt Olson threw to third baseman Matt Chapman to force Franco, but Oakland starter Cole Irvin couldn’t get to first to time to double up Stewart.
Ryan Mountcastle, who had been hitless in 21 at-bats, singled, and both advanced a base when centerfielder Ramón Laureano overran the ball. They stayed at second and third when Severino struck out, ending the inning.
Laureano homered to center, his second, and Oakland led, 3-0, as Travis Lakins replaced López, who allowed three runs on six hits in four-plus innings.
“They’re a really good team,” López said. “We all know how lucky they’ve been. As a starting pitcher, you have to understand the situation of not giving 90 feet free, especially when that team’s been really hot.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Trey Mancini, Franco and Stewart singled to load the bases with none out against Irvin. Mountcastle struck out, and Severino singled to left to score Mancini, only his second RBI of the season.
Irvin left in favor of Yusmeiro Petit, who retired Freddy Galvis on a pop to second on the first pitch, and Ramón Urías on a grounder to short to end the sixth.
Irvin allowed a run on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Cole Sulser retired all six Oakland hitters he faced. In the seventh, he needed just seven pitches, and he struck out the side in the eighth. Overall, Lakins, Dillon Tate, Sulser and Shawn Armstrong combined to allow just two hits in five scoreless innings.
“The bullpen helped me a lot,” López said. “I have to give better starts.”
The Orioles got two-out singles in the seventh from Mancini and Severino in the eighth, but both remained there.
“We had opportunities,” Hyde said. “We’re swinging at pitcher’s pitches a little bit too often in big spots. We’ve got to make better decisions at the plate … up, down, away, we’re just chasing too often. A lot of our guys are pressing. There’s a lot of different reasons why we’re not coming through in spots, punching out too often.
“We’re in a little bit of a funk to start this year, but we will snap out of it.”
Notes: Pitching coach Chris Holt is away from the club this weekend because of a personal matter. Assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes is filling in. … The Orioles hadn’t allowed a home run in their previous four games for the first time since July 21-24, 2016.