BALTIMORE—The Orioles came into this weekend’s series with the Texas Rangers with the second-best record in baseball. After losses in the first two games, the Rangers have passed them.
On Saturday, Oriole starter Dean Kremer pitched well, but the Orioles didn’t support him in their 5-3 loss to Texas before an announced crowd of 37,939 at Camden Yards on Saturday.
Kremer (5-2) had won three straight decisions and hadn’t lost since April 29th. He allowed three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. It was his fourth quality start and was just the second time he had gotten an out in the seventh inning.
“Tough lineup to pitch to, and he did a great job,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s been doing this his last four or five outings. He’s keeping us in the game, showing us the kind of pitcher he was the second half of last year, facing good lineups and today, great getting into the seventh inning.”
The Orioles (33-19) didn’t score against Texas starter Andrew Heaney (3-4) until Austin Hays led off the seventh with his sixth home run. Heaney entered the game with a 9.51 ERA, and on April 4th, he allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Orioles in Texas.
Two baserunning snafus stood out. James McCann was thrown out easily by Rangers rightfielder Adolis Garcia when he tried to score on an Adam Frazier hit to end the second. In the third, Jorge Mateo, who had singled and stolen second, raced for third when Adley Rutschman lined to left. When Josh Smith caught the ball, Mateo was already at third and easily doubled up to end the inning.
“He was stealing on the pitch and was probably two-thirds of the way to third base when the ball made contact, just a really tough read for him at that point,” Hyde said.
Kremer allowed a run-scoring single to Robbie Grossman in the second and an RBI single by one-time Orioles minor leaguer Jonah Heim.
In the seventh, Kremer was pulled after he walked Grossman with one out. Leody Taveras doubled against Bryan Baker. Marcus Semien singled against a drawn-in infield, and both runners scored, giving Texas a 4-1 lead.
“I thought it went pretty well. Quality start, that’s the goal every time,” Kremer said.
The Rangers (33-18) scored a run in a sloppy eighth inning. Garcia singled against Mychal Givens, and with one out, Heim doubled, but Garcia was out for failing to touch second base when he briefly retreated toward first, thinking that first baseman Ryan Mountcastle would catch the liner.
Josh Smith grounded to second. Frazier threw to Keegan Akin, who relieved Givens and was covering first, but Akin dropped the ball for an error, allowing Heim to score.
The Orioles scored two runs in the ninth on RBI doubles by Mountcastle and Ramón Urías.
“I felt like we had good at-bats, extremely good pitches, a lot of balls in play on a line,” Hays said. “They were tracking balls down out there. They made some good plays. Just unlucky, I felt like we had a good approach and plan on offense and did all we could do at that point. Just couldn’t get anything to fall.”
It’s the fourth series loss of the season, and the first since the Orioles lost two of three in Atlanta May 5th-7th. They’ll try to prevent being swept for the first time this season on Sunday.
“We were ready to bounce right back in there today after the loss last night,” Hays said. “We just couldn’t get anything rolling on offense, couldn’t get anything to fall to string together some … just get them on the ropes a little bit, a little unlucky.”
This is just the fifth time this season the Orioles have lost two straight, and have only one three-game losing streak.
“We’ve played better games than we’ve played the last two, for sure,” Hyde said. “This things are going to happen. We’re facing a really good club, a first-place team that’s scoring [six]-plus runs a game. They have excellent starting pitching. Will Smith closed today. He’s done if for a long time.
“We’ve got to play a little bit better. It’s a tough team we’re facing, try to shake this one off and try to salvage a win in this series.”
Notes: Kyle Bradish (2-1, 4.34) will start against Cody Bradford (0-1, 10.80) on Sunday afternoon. … Semien has hit in 16 straight games.