BALTIMORE—The Orioles hoped to win a series from the Cleveland Guardians with Austin Voth pitching in bulk relief. Instead, Voth pitched only 2 1/3 innings, and the Orioles used seven pitchers in an ugly 12-8 loss before 11.304 at Camden Yards on Wednesday.
The Orioles (35-21) lost four of six on their homestand to Texas and Cleveland (24-31), the first time this season they’ve lost consecutive series.
Manager Brandon Hyde decided to use Keegan Akin as an opener and follow with Voth. He hoped the combination would get his team through most of the game, but it didn’t.
“Unfortunate because we swung the bat so well early,” Hyde said. “I was really happy with our offense. That second through the fifth inning we had a tough time getting outs.”
Akin allowed a run in the first inning, and Voth could get only one out in the fourth. He allowed three runs on five hits and walked three.
“It was good to see our offense fight back the way we did,” Voth said. “It was an off day for the pitchers today, just not executing our pitches.”
Cionel Pérez relieved Voth and allowed back-to-back home runs to Josh Naylor and Josh Bell that put Cleveland ahead, 6-5. Pérez allowed just nine earned runs last season and had an ERA of 1.40, and the two earned runs gave him 11 this season and a 4.87 ERA.
“Unfortunately, today just two really good swings out there that did the most damage,” Pérez said through an interpreter. “Unfortunate, that’s what’s been going on, but overall I feel pretty good with the way things have been going lately. Just those two swings hurt me today.”
The Orioles, who put together a four-run second to take a 4-1 lead, grabbed the lead back in the fourth on a two-run home run by Anthony Santander, his ninth.
Cleveland starter Shane Bieber allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings.
The 7-6 lead didn’t last long. Mychal Givens (0-1) didn’t retire any of the three hitters he faced, and they each scored.
Mike Baumann gave up a three-run double to Naylor and a long two-run home run to Gabriel Arias for an 11-7 Guardians lead.
After Ryan O’Hearn’s fielder’s choice scored Gunnar Henderson in the fifth, Naylor’s RBI single made it 12-8. Naylor had six RBIs.
Cleveland and Oakland each have scored 200 runs, the fewest in baseball, but scored 12 runs, the second time on this homestand the Orioles allowed 12.
“Give them credit. They swung the bat extremely well, especially today,” Hyde said. “We didn’t pitch our best. It was a high-scoring game. We just had a tough time getting them out in the middle part of the [game]. We’ve pitched well. We just didn’t pitch well this series.”
In his first game with the Orioles, Aaron Hicks played center field and was 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. He left the game with a muscle cramp is his left calf after six innings.
“It felt great to get out there and get two hits. Got a nice little bleeder there. That felt really good,” Hicks said. “Hit another one after that, so that felt good. Obviously, I wanted to play the rest of the game, but cramps happen.”
Fortunately, Bryan Baker and Danny Coulombe combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings, though the Orioles didn’t score in the last four innings. Five Guardian relievers combined to allow a run on four hits in five innings.
“We scored eight runs,” Hyde said. “Usually when you’re struggling you have a tough time getting it going offensively, and we did not. We took great at-bats today. We just didn’t pitch our best game today.”
The Orioles ended May with a 16-12 record. After an offday, they’ll play three games each at San Francisco and Milwaukee.
“We played very really well this month,” Hyde said. “These last two series weren’t our best. Those are going to happen. We’re not going to win every series the rest of the year. We’re going to have tough games. We’re going to have tough games on the mound. We’re going to have tough games at the plate. For the most part this month, I was really happy with how we played and hope we can start off the month of June on the right note.”
Notes: Adley Rutschman had a four-hit game. Three were infield singles. … Austin Hays missed the game because he wasn’t feeling well. … The Orioles begin a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Friday night. Dean Kremer (5-2, 4.58) will pitch for the Orioles. The Giants have yet to name their starter. Game time is 10:15 p.m.