The Orioles began their second 10-game road trip with the hope that it would be better than the first one. It didn’t take long for that hope to take a beating.
The Toronto Blue Jays, who play their games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, scored six times before starter Dean Kremer could get a second out. Manager Brandon Hyde had seen enough after just 39 pitches in a game the Orioles would lose, 9-0, their 20th loss in a row on the road and their second straight shutout.
Last month, when the Orioles played 10 games at Washington, Minnesota and Chicago, they lost them all on their way to a 14-game losing streak, equaling the second longest in club history.
After Thursday night, the franchise-record road losing streak is 20 games, tying the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics for second longest in American League history.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who recently set a major league record with 23 straight road losses, play Friday night at San Diego.
The Orioles, who are nearly 30 games under .500 at 23-52, lost their sixth straight game and their 14th in 15 games. Since they last won a road game on May 5th, they’re 8-37.
They were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since August 4-5, 2020.
The Orioles were out of the game in the first inning when Kremer (0-7) retired only one batter. He walked five and allowed two hits, one a grand slam by Lourdes Gurriel.
“I don’t think it’s ever been that bad, no,” Kremer said. “Five walks—that’s embarrassing on my part for our team. That’s unacceptable. That can’t happen.”
The other runs were driven in on Teoscar Hernandez’s single and Randal Grichuk’s infield out.
“I think it could be a combination of things,” Kremer said. “Right now, it’s more mental than physical. It’s just something I have to chip away at from week-to-week.”
Hyde had to summon Adam Plutko to finish the first.
“Five walks in a third of an inning,” Hyde said. “He just didn’t have command tonight.”
Toronto (38-35) led, 6-0, after one.
“I’m seeing that we’re down a touchdown early back-to-back nights,” said Hyde, whose team lost to the Astros, 13-0 on Wednesday night. “That’s not easy to come back from.”
In his previous start against Toronto last Saturday, Kremer gave up just two runs on three hits in six innings in a game the Orioles would lose, 10-7, in a ninth-inning collapse by the bullpen.
“I just think he’s been super inconsistent,” Hyde said. “He had a good start last time out. Tonight he had a tough time throwing the ball over the plate.”
Kremer doesn’t know what was different from the last start.
“I’m not too sure. I’m going to go back and watch video,” Kremer said. “Hopefully come to a conclusion pretty soon and then work through the steps to continue to get better.”
Kremer, who was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in four starts last year, has a 7.25 ERA in 12 starts in 2021.
“It’s not going as I’d hoped or I’m sure as the front office hopes,” Kremer said. “But it’s something that I’ve got to take one step at a time, and can’t really get bogged down by every failure.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 24th home run in the second. In the third, Plutko gave up run-scoring doubles to Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette.
Travis Lakins came in to pitch in the fourth and threw four scoreless innings, giving up only one hit. It was the longest appearance of Lakins’ major league career. Lakins could relate to Kremer’s meltdown.
“I think everybody’s had them,” he said. “In the minor leagues, in the big leagues. It takes a toll on you. The best thing about this game is you have a short mentality. You have a short stint to get batter and dominate the next outing, and I know that’s what Dean is going to do.”
Anthony Kay (1-2) pitched five shutout innings, giving up five hits, all singles, striking out eight and walking one. The Orioles helped with the strikeouts, chasing one pitch after another out of the strike zone.
“We had Kay on the ropes early,” Hyde said. “They had guys up in the third, the fourth and the fifth. We had a tough time laying off his elevated fastball tonight. It’s not easy when you’re battling from so far behind so early in the game.”
Anthony Castro, Patrick Murphy, Jacob Barnes and Tayler Saucedo combined to throw four shutout innings, allowing two hits.
Note: Matt Harvey (3-9, 7.80 ERA) will face Alek Monoah (1-0, 4.18) on Friday night.
Minor Matters: Zac Lowther allowed five runs on three hits in four innings in Triple-A Norfolk’s 6-2 loss to Gwinnett. Lowther (0-3) struck out five and walked three. The Tides had just four hits.
Gray Fenter gave up six runs, one unearned, on four hits while retiring only two batters in the sixth inning in Double-A Bowie’s 10-2 loss to New Hampshire.
In his first Double-A start, Kyle Brnovich, who came to the Orioles in the Dylan Bundy trade, pitched four innings, allowing a run on three hits, striking out six and walking one.
Designated hitter J.D. Mundy, an unsigned free agent, hit his eighth home run in 16 games for High-A Aberdeen as the IronBirds lost to Rome, 4-3. Mundy has five home runs in the last six games.
Second baseman Adam Hall his second home run.
Shortstop Gunnar Henderson struck out three times. He’s hitless in seven at-bats in three games since he was promoted from Delmarva.
Left-hander Kevin Magee (0-1) gave up four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Rightfielder Cristopher Cespedes hit his second grand slam in three days in Low-A Delmarva’s 6-3 win over Fredericksburg. Shortstop Darell Hernaiz, the Orioles’ fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft, had two hits.
Ignacio Feliz (2-0) pitched 4 1/3 hitless innings in relief for the win.