BALTIMORE—It was a gorgeous day and a large Mother’s Day crowd gathered at Oriole Park. Unfortunately for Kyle Gibson, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had lost 10 of 11, found holes and scored four runs on seven singles.
The Orioles struck out 17 times, one short of their club record, and saw their four-game winning streak end with a 4-0 loss before 36,403.
Gibson (4-3) allowed a leadoff single to Andrew McCutchen to begin the game and after Bryan Reynolds’ single sent McCutchen to third, Carlos Santana bounced to second. Adam Frazier’s throw to shortstop was in time, but Joey Ortiz’s throw did not beat Santana and McCutchen scored.
Originally, it was called a double play, but reversed on replay.
Gibson struck out Reynolds to begin the third, but the third strike was wild, and Reynolds reached. With one out, Jack Suwinski walked, Ke’Bryan Hayes’ single to right scored Reynolds, and Ji-Hwan Bae’s two-out single scored Suwinski and Hayes to give Pittsburgh (22-19) a 4-0. lead
“He threw the ball really well,” catcher James McCann said. “A lot better than the stat line is going to show. Starting off with the pitch in the dirt that kicked off my shin guard, a wild pitch, a dropped third strike, and then it seemed like soft contact after soft contact found a way to drop in.”
Gibson has lost three straight and has been the starter in each of the three games the Orioles have been shut out, a 6-0 loss at Kansas City and 3-0 to Tampa Bay on Monday.
“They’re all annoying,” Gibson said of losses. “You want to go out there and give the team a chance to win and five innings and four runs isn’t going to do it. They’re all fairly annoying when you lose. This might be a little less annoying than Kansas City, but it’s up there.”
Gibson was removed after throwing 95 pitches in five innings, walking three and striking out five.
“They kind of singled us to death today,” Gibson said. “A couple of them really close. That’s the game of baseball, a game of inches, right? A foot here, a foot there, obviously the game changes.”
Mitch Keller (5-1), who threw a four-hit shutout against Colorado on Monday, followed it with seven brilliant innings, allowing four singles, and striking out a career-high 13 without a walk.
“That might be the best pitching performance of the season,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That was a pitching clinic, just how he got ahead. He’s got four or five really plus pitches. We were 0-2 on every at-bat, it felt like.
“We had a tough time offensively. You tip your hat. That was an outstanding pitching performance.”
The Orioles (26-14) had four singles against Keller but didn’t get a runner to third base against him.
Cedric Mullins, who bunted for a base hit in the first, his first bunt single of the year, singled with one out and Gunnar Henderson doubled with two outs in the eighth against Colin Holderman, but Ryan Mountcastle struck out for the third out.
Adam Frazier singled against David Bednar to lead off the ninth. Austin Hays reached on an error by Hayes at third, but Kyle Stowers and McCann struck out and Adley Rutschman popped to third for the third out.
Mountcastle and Stowers struck out four times. Henderson struck out three times.
“I want to give them credit. We didn’t have our best day offensively,” Hyde said. “Those three guys that pitched for them have plus-stuff and really good.”
Notes: Catcher Luis Torrens cleared waivers and refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk, and he’s now a free agent. … Relief pitchers Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate will continue their rehab assignment at Norfolk on Tuesday and then will be reevaluated. … Ramón Urías, who’s on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring, hit in the batting cage before the game and is “much improved” and “getting better every day,” according to Hyde. … The Los Angeles Angels play a four-game series here this week. Shohei Ohtani (4-1, 2.74) will face Grayson Rodrigue (2-0, 5.08) on Monday night at 6:35.
Ortiz for Vespi: With Ryan McKenna’s back ailing but not serious enough to require a 10-day injured list stint, the team activated Joey Ortiz, who started at shortstop. Ortiz was hitless in three at-bats.
McKenna said he’s ready to play but hasn’t played since Tuesday.
“I think I just let my body get too tight and caused some pressure,” he said. “I’m trying to maintain mobility in some areas, and I’ll be good to go.”
Left-hander Nick Vespi, who was recalled before Friday’s game, was optioned after Saturday night’s game. Vespi didn’t pitch in either game in which he was active. Vespi, Drew Rom and Spenser Watkins each were active this season without getting into a game.
Hyde said he didn’t know how long the Orioles would go with 12 pitchers.
“Unsure, one of the better moments of the season is how healthy we are in the bullpen,” he said. “Our starters have done an amazing job with that the past six, seven games. That could change really quickly.”
Cano, Bautista separated in the ninth? Hyde said the Orioles haven’t made a firm decision on whether to make sure either Yennier Cano or Félix Bautista are available to close in each game.
“It’s different night-to-night,” Hyde said. “Baseball’s weird. There’ll probably be four or five days [when] I probably won’t use either of them … Hopefully, both of those guys are available on most days.”
Rutschman sits: Rutschman didn’t start for the third time, but pinch-hit in with two outs in the ninth. Like Mountcastle and Mullins, he has played in each of the Orioles’ 40 games.
“I’d love one time [to] have a nine-run lead on a day he doesn’t play, would be a great Mother’s Day,” Hyde said. “Ever since he’s gotten here, you feel like on days he sits, there’s a big spot to hit, and I’ve got Adley Rutschman standing over there with a bat, and it’s hard not to put him in.
“I would love to stay away from him as much as I can. He’s caught a lot. We’ve got three right-handers in a row … He’s going to catch a lot, five or six games a week. You try to give him a breather when you can.”
Minor league update: Double-A Bowie had just two hits in an 8-0 loss at Harrisburg. The Baysox are 9-22.
Third baseman Max Wagner and leftfielder Jud Fabian each homered in High-A Aberdeen’s 8-3 loss to Hudson Valley.
Centerfielder Elio Prado and third baseman Anderson De Los Santos homered as Single-A Delmarva beat Down East, 5-4.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions later this week. Please email yours to: [email protected]
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB