BALTIMORE—Some days the Orioles play well enough to win, and they still lose. Despite six strong innings from starter Jorge López and scoreless innings from César Valdez, Tanner Scott and Paul Fry in relief, the Orioles managed only one run in nine innings as the Minnesota Twins scored two in the 10th for a 3-2 win, and a 14th straight Orioles loss before 11,010 at Oriole Park on Monday.
The Orioles (17-37) hadn’t played an extra-inning game during their streak, which equals the second longest in club history and trails only the 0-21 start to the 1988 season. It’s the longest losing streak in Major League Baseball since the Houston Astros lost their final 15 games in the 2013 season.
The Orioles’ last 14-game slide was August 11-25, 1954, the team’s first season in Baltimore.
Reliever Adam Plutko (1-2) began the 10th with Rob Refsnyder on second as the automatic runner. Refsnyder moved to third on Kyle Garlick’s grounder to second and scored on a wild pitch by Plutko.
Jorge Polanco homered to right, and the Orioles trailed, 3-1.
In the bottom of the 10th, DJ Stewart doubled to drive in Maikel Franco, the automatic runner. Stewart moved to third on a wild pitch by Hansel Robles. Ryan Mountcastle struck out. Stevie Wilkerson walked. Austin Wynns struck out, and Freddy Galvis flied to right to end it.
Taylor Rogers (2-2) relieved José Berrios after Trey Mancini singled to begin the ninth and struck out Anthony Santander and got Maikel Franco to hit into a double play.
Robles picked up his fourth save for Minnesota (22-31). A week ago, the Orioles, who had lost six straight, were at Target Field and both teams had 17-29 records. The Twins swept the series, and the Orioles are still looking for their first win since May 16th.
“It’s been a tough last couple of weeks,” Mountcastle said. “We’re trying to keep our head up, trying to keep playing hard. We’ve been in a lot of close games, and we’ve just got to try to turn the page and move on to the next one and hopefully win tomorrow.”
The Orioles, who have lost 21 of 23 since John Means pitched a no-hitter on May 6th, finish the first third of the schedule on pace for a 51-111 record.
“We’ve got a good group of guys, some veterans,” Mountcastle said. “We’ve had some talks and we’ve tried to talk it out and see what we can do differently. We’re going to keep moving forward and try to win the next day.”
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the third. Garlick singled to lead off, stole second, advanced to third on Andrelton Simmons’ infield singled, and scored on Polanco’s force out.
That was the only run allowed by López, who worked six innings for the second straight start. He allowed the run on five hits, walking one and striking out seven.
“Really, really pleased with how far he’s come and how much he’s improved,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
“We all know how difficult this game is,” López said. “Getting my confidence back, pitch-by-pitch, going through inning-by-inning. Just give me a chance to keep the game close and, hopefully, we can get better. We need to get better.”
Mountcastle’s fifth home run, a shot to center with one out in the fifth, tied it at 1.
Cedric Mullins led off the first with a double, and the Orioles, who were 0-for-24 with runners in scoring position in their four games in Chicago, couldn’t drive in Mullins.
Berrios retired 13 straight until Mountcastle’s home run. In the sixth, Mancini and Santander had two-out singles, but neither scored when Franco grounded out to short for the third out.
Notes: Bruce Zimmermann (2-3, 6.15 ERA) will face Michael Piñeda (3-2, 2.62) on Tuesday night. … The Orioles recorded their sixth sellout of the season. … Camden Yards will open to its full capacity on Tuesday. … Pitching coach Chris Holt returned from a personal leave.
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