The Orioles stumbled through a bizarre first inning in Cleveland on Monday night and never really recovered. A three-run first by the Indians set the Orioles on their way to a fifth straight defeat and their 16th consecutive road loss, extending a club record.
Manager Brandon Hyde got to witness very little of the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to Cleveland.
In the bottom of the first, Indians second baseman César Hernandez led off with a single off Dean Kremer. Amed Rosario was hit by a pitch, a call that Hyde objected to so vigorously that first base umpire Nestor Ceja ejected him.
“I was arguing a checked swing,” Hyde said. “Understand that the ball hit him in the finger, but I wanted to see if [home plate umpire Jim Wolf] would ask for help. The first base umpire said that he didn’t go on the swing and threw me out for telling him he missed it.”
Kremer threw a wild pitch and, with runners on second and third, leftfielder DJ Stewart slipped and couldn’t catch José Ramirez’s single that scored Hernandez. Ramirez reached second when Stewart compounded the misplay by overthrowing the cutoff men. Eddie Rosario’s sacrifice fly scored Amed Rosario and Bobby Bradley’s single to left scored Ramirez, putting the Orioles behind, 3-0.
“I settled in nicely after the [first],” Kremer said. “You can only control what you can control. It’s a part of the game. It happens.”
Kremer (0-6), who was called up before the game to start, pitched well. He allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits, striking out two and didn’t walk a batter.
“I thought Dean threw the ball great,” Hyde said. “I was encouraged by his start, no walks. We misplay a ball in the first and then don’t help him out there in that first inning. He settled down after all that stuff happened to him in the first inning and goes four scoreless into the sixth inning, throwing strikes.
“He had a good curveball tonight. I liked the changeup. I like the way he threw strikes. He gave us an opportunity to win … the bottom-line is, we just didn’t play defense tonight. The bottom line is, you have to play defense in the big leagues to win, and we [didn’t make] numerous plays, and that hurt us.”
The Orioles (22-43) scored two runs in the fourth. Trey Mancini walked and Anthony Santander doubled. With runners on second and third, DJ Stewart’s grounder to first scored Mancini. Freddy Galvis grounded out to starter J.C. Mejia and scored Santander. Ryan Mountcastle struck out to end the inning.
In the sixth, Hérnandez led off with a grounder to first that Mountcastle booted. Hérnandez moved to second on a passed ball by catcher Pedro Severino.
Amed Rosario grounded out to short and, against Tyler Wells, Ramirez hit a pop foul to right field. Santander called off second baseman Stevie Wilkerson, who had been playing in short right field, but Wilkerson went after it and dropped it for an error.
Ramirez then doubled to right, and Hernández scored, and Cleveland (35-28) led, 4-2.
“You give Ramirez second chances, and it’s going to end up hurting you,” Hyde said. “Our pitching was fantastic tonight. We definitely pitched well enough to win … The defense let us down today.”
In the seventh, Stewart walked against Bryan Shaw and, with two outs, Severino walked. Maikel Franco, who was hitless in his last 10 at-bats, pinch-hit for Wilkerson and singled to right to score Stewart.
James Karinchak replaced Shaw and struck out Mountcastle to end the seventh.
Cedric Mullins led off the eighth with a walk and stole second and third. Mancini, Santander and Stewart struck out.
Nick Sandlin (1-0) relieved Mejia and retired all five Orioles batters he faced for the win. Emmanuel Clase pitched the ninth for his 10th save. The Orioles struck out 11 times and had just five hits.
Kremer, who rejoined the team on Monday, said the clubhouse didn’t reflect the losses and appreciated Hyde’s passion.
“Morale is pretty good in the clubhouse,” Kremer said. “At least it was before the game. Losing sucks, but we’ll get out of it … [Hyde] shows that he cares a lot. He wants us to get out of this stretch as much as we do. He’s behind our team.”
Notes: Hyde’s ejection was his second of the season, and sixth as Orioles manager. … The start of the game was delayed by 56 minutes because of rain. … Matt Harvey (3-7, 7.41ERA ) will face Cal Quantrill (0-2, 3.21) on Tuesday night. … The Orioles are 4-11 in one-run games.