Orioles rediscover offense but losing streak reaches 5 as Guardians score 8 in 4 innings against Irvin - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles rediscover offense but losing streak reaches 5 as Guardians score 8 in 4 innings against Irvin

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE-What happened? On a night when the Orioles’ offense snapped out of its three-game funk with four home runs and 16 hits, starting pitcher Cole Irvin allowed eight runs, four unearned, on 10 hits in four innings. The result was the Orioles’ fifth straight loss, 10-8 to the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.

It’s the Orioles’ longest losing streak since they lost six straight from May 13th-18th, 2022.

Since the Yankees lost to the Mets, 9-7, the Orioles remain two games behind New York in the American League East.

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“I’m not frustrated with our offense,” said manager Brandon Hyde, whose team had scored four runs in its previous three games. “We had 16 hits and scored eight runs on these guys. We should win the game, but we just didn’t pitch well enough to win.”

Gunnar Henderson hit his 25th home run in the first inning. James McCann and Colton Cowser hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, and Anthony Santander hit his 21st in the eighth for the Orioles’ final run.

It was Santander’s 12th home run in June, joining Boog Powell, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle and Chris Davis. Manny Machado (August 2017) was the last Oriole to hit 12 home runs in a month.

Cleveland won its seventh straight.

What’s wrong with the starting pitching? The Orioles have gone eight straight games without a quality start. Their last one came on June 16th when Corbin Burnes allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings in an 8-3 win over Philadelphia.

While the Orioles won two of three at Yankee Stadium, Albert Suárez (3 2/3 innings), Cade Povich and Irvin (4 2/3 each) didn’t pitch long enough.

In Houston’s three-game sweep, Grayson Rodriguez, Burnes and Suárez all lost. Although Povich pitched creditably on Monday night (three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3), Irvin was rocked by the Guardians.

That doesn’t take into account that three starters — Kyle Bradish, John Means and Tyler Wells — had season-ending elbow surgery and that a fourth, Dean Kremer, is still out with a strain of his right triceps muscle.

Why is Irvin struggling? Besides the five runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings, Irvin gave up against the Yankees, Irvin allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings against Atlanta on June 13th.

“I don’t care what night it is. It’s not a good night for me,” Irvin said. “I’ve had a stretch of games here that I’m not happy with. Offense did their part, bullpen did their part. Just got to minimize damage, be better in early innings and start cruising.

“At the end of the day, it sucks. I’m not happy with performance as of late. Going to fix it. My mind’s in the right place right now, just trying to get where I need to be.”

Hyde summed up Irvin’s night.

“A lot of hard hits,” he said. “He was in the zone but looked like it was thigh high in the middle part of the plate. First couple innings were rough, decent third and then some kind of wonky stuff before the home run there. He had control, but he didn’t have his command tonight. Just way too many balls in the middle part of the plate elevated.”

In 2022, Guardians manager Stephen Vogt caught Irvin six times when they were teammates with the Oakland Athletics.

“Pretty good scouting report on what I’m trying to do,” Irvin said. “Just was one of those days where I made the adjustment a little too late. Couldn’t get down in the zone or stay up in the zone.”

It was the fifth time McCann caught Irvin this year. In his previous four starts, Irvin had a 2.41 earned-run average.

“He’s thrown the ball so well this year,” McCann said. “Tonight’s one of those nights where we didn’t have our best command and they took full advantage of it.”

How strange was McCann’s night? McCann hit his third homer but was thrown out of the plate trying to score on Ryan Mountcastle’s double to end the second, hit into a 5-4-3 groundout in the seventh where Mountcastle was called safe at second, and made a key error in the fourth.

Gabriel Arias dribbled a ball in front of the plate with Bo Naylor on first. McCann made a wild throw to second baseman Jorge Mateo, which led to a five-run inning that gave Cleveland an 8-4 lead.

“If I could do it all over again, I would give him a little better throw to handle,” McCann said. “In that moment the ball’s right in front of home plate. It’s something we’re trained to do. It’s easy … to say, ‘let’s take the out,’ and have a guy at second. In the moment, the play is to second base.

“If I take the out at first, maybe we get out of the inning without giving up any runs. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. At the end of the day, make a better throw.”

This is the first five-game losing streak in McCann’s two years with the Orioles.

“We had rough patches last year, and we still won 101 games,” he said. “The minute you start doubting yourself, the minute you start taking a stretch of five games and making it seem like it’s more than that is when it starts to snowball

“It’s frustrating. No one likes to lose, but at the same time you can’t freak out about a little stretch, really it’s our toughest stretch of the year.”

What’s the word? “I look around. I don’t see anyone pressing. I don’t see that the team morale is down. I don’t see any of that. I don’t see that there’s any red flags right now. This team is still in a really good place. There’s still good energy in the dugout, in the clubhouse. There’s no need to hit a panic button and change anything right now.”-Austin Hays on the Orioles’ reaction to five straight losses.

What does it mean? Grayson Rodriguez will need to deliver a strong start on Wednesday night to get the Orioles rolling again. He had a rough start in Houston last Friday.

What’s the stat of the day? 32. Henderson’s 32-game on-base streak is the longest in the majors this year and the longest for the Orioles since Nick Markakis’ 38-game streak from July 5th-August 18th, 2009.

What’s going on in the minor leagues? Jackson Holliday returned to Triple-A Norfolk after being rested for 10 days with right elbow inflammation and doubled and walked twice in the Tides’ 4-2 loss to Charlotte.

Holliday will be Norfolk’s designated hitter for several weeks as part of his rehab progression and was removed from the game after his scheduled four plate appearances.

Third baseman Coby Mayo hit his 15th home run. Chayce McDermott, allowed two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out eight.

Catcher Samuel Basallo, third baseman Ryan Higgins and leftfielder Matthew Etzel homered for Double-A Bowie in its 8-4 loss to Reading. It was Basallo’s 11th homer, Higgins’ third, and Etzel’s first since being promoted from High-A Aberdeen. Trace Bright (0-8) allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Centerfielder Reed Trimble had three hits and drove in four as Aberdeen beat Brooklyn, 9-2. Michael Forret (2-1) allowed one hit in five scoreless innings.

Single-A Delmarva was held to three hits in the Shorebirds’ 2-0 loss to Down East.

Florida Complex League outfielder Mishael Deson had lumbar discectomy surgery on Monday. He’ll miss the remainder of the season.

Norfolk right-hander Corbin Martin was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Aberdeen right-hander Levi Wells was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Infielder Terrin Vavra began a rehab stint with the IronBirds.

Honor for Ebel: Orioles head athletic trainer Brian Ebel will be one of the trainers for the American League in next month’s All-Star Game.

What’s next? Grayson Rodriguez (8-3, 3.82) will face Carlos Carrasco (3-6, 5.40) on Wednesday night at 6:35.

Call for questions: Most weekdays, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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