BALTIMORE—The Orioles’ losing streak is at 19, the longest in Major League Baseball since the Kansas City Royals lost that many in 2005. If the Los Angeles Angels, who beat the Orioles, 14-8, before an announced crowd of 8,781 at Camden Yards on Tuesday, win again on Wednesday and Thursday, the Orioles will equal the 21 losses in a row they had to start the 1988 season.
The Tampa Bay Rays follow the Angels to Baltimore. If they sweep the Orioles, Baltimore will have 24 consecutive losses, which would be a modern day record. The 1961 Philadelphia Phillies lost 23 straight.
It’s the fatalistic way Oriole fans are thinking as the losses mount, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.
“It’s been very tough,” Anthony Santander said through a translator. Santander had a big night, going 4-for-5 and hitting a home run onto Eutaw Street. He helped the Orioles chip away at a 13-2 deficit, but it was too much to overcome.
“Sometimes it’s the pitchers, sometimes it’s the offense,” he said. “We have the mentality to come in every single day with a winning attitude, and that’s what we need to do, come in with a winning attitude, and something’s going to happen.”
Spenser Watkins, who began his career by allowing three runs on 11 hits in 15 1/3 innings in his first three starts, hasn’t been the same since. In Watkins’ last six starts, all losses, he has allowed 30 runs on 42 hits in 25 2/3 innings. His ERA, which was 1.65 after that third start is now 7.07. On Tuesday night, he gave up eight runs on seven hits in 2-plus innings.
Watkins (2-6) faced Dylan Bundy, who was making his first start against his former team. Bundy allowed Ryan Mountcastle’s 22nd home run in the first and departed with the bases loaded, one out and a 5-1 lead in the second. But Javy Guerra (2-4) retired Cedric Mullins on a short fly ball and Mountcastle on a ground ball to end the second and prevent the Orioles from getting back into the game at that point.
Watkins left after the first four batters of the third reached. The Angels were hitting the ball hard.
“They had a good game plan,” Watkins said. “I thought I made some good pitches. They hit them, simple.”
In the first, Watkins retired the Angels (63-64) in order, striking out Shohei Ohtani, who’s scheduled to pitch on Wednesday night. Ohtani, the major league’s home run leader with 40, went 1-for-4 and was intentionally walked, which drew boos from the fans.
Jo Adell had four RBIs, on a two-run triple in the second, and a two-run single in the third. Juan Lagares had a two-run home run in the third, when the Angels took an 8-1 lead after the Orioles missed their opportunity in the second.
“No one wants to be in this position,” Watkins said. “We’re battling. This is the big leagues. You don’t have that breather. You don’t get that easy team. That doesn’t exist here.”
Konner Wade allowed five runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings and left with the Orioles (38-86) trailing, 13-2.
“It’s tough to stay in the game when you’re down 13-2 after four innings,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “You’ve got to pitch in this league to win. You’ve got to pitch in this league to be competitive.”
Ramón Urias had an RBI double in the third and a two-run single in a three-run fifth for the Orioles. Mountcastle hit his second homer of the game, and 23rd of the season, to lead off the sixth. He has the fourth most home runs by an Orioles rookie. Only Cal Ripken Jr. (28 in 1982), Eddie Murray (27 in 1977) and Trey Mancini (24 in 2017) had more.
Santander’ four-hit game also included two doubles. The first scored Trey Mancini in the fifth, and his 13th homer scored Mancini in the sixth to reduce the Angels’ lead to 13-8. Santander’s home run that landed on Eutaw Street was his fourth this season and seventh in his career. Santander trails only Chris Davis, who hit 11 onto Eutaw Street.
Jahmai Jones, playing his first game for the Orioles, struck out looking three times, fouled out and was hit by a pitch (in his first at-bat). He also committed an error at second base.
Jorge Mateo, who was playing shortstop, left the game after six innings because of lower back discomfort. Urías moved from third to shortstop, and Kelvin Gutiérrez, who was called up from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, played third.
Fernando Abad relieved Wade in the fourth and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings to prevent the game from getting even more out of hand. Marcos Diplán allowed his first earned run in eight appearances on David Fletcher’s RBI single in the eighth.
“This is incredibly challenging and a huge gut check,” Hyde said. “We’re having a lot of tough nights and trying to keep our spirits high, trying to be there for the guys. We are.”
Watkins said the losses aren’t reflected in the players’ approach.
“You would come into our clubhouse and you wouldn’t think something like that was going on,” Watkins said. “There’s no dark cloud hanging over anybody or the clubhouse in general.”
Notes: The Orioles struck out four times in the sixth inning. Mancini reached when he struck out and Angels catcher Max Stassi threw wildly to first. They tied their season high with 16 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. … Hyde will use someone from the bullpen to start Wednesday’s game against Ohtani (8-1, 2.79). … Wade was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
Minor league update: Dean Kremer allowed three runs in two innings in relief as Triple-A Norfolk lost to Jacksonville, 4-3. Mike Baumann started and pitched five scoreless innings, giving up four hits, walking three and striking out five. Hunter Harvey pitched a scoreless sixth, allowing a hit and striking out one.
Rightfielder Kyle Stowers had three hits, including his 11th home run, a two-run shot in Double-A Bowie’s 9-7 loss to Erie. Drew Rom (2-1) pitched four innings in relief and allowed four runs on five hits in four innings.
Adam Stauffer (0-1) allowed four runs in the seventh as High-A Aberdeen lost to Brooklyn ,9-6. Leftfielder Cristopher Cespedes hit a two-run homer for the IronBirds,
Third baseman Coby Mayo hit his second home run for Low-A Delmarva and drove in three runs as the Shorebirds beat Salem, 9-4. Second baseman Connor Norby had three hits and two RBIs. Gregori Vasquez (2-0) pitched four scoreless innings in relief, allowing three hits and striking out three.