The Orioles finally put together a series win last week when they took 2/3 from the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The home stand continued into this week with the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians coming to town for a four game series.
Unfortunately the Orioles were not able to compensate for their poor pitching in this series like they did against the Cardinals. The O’s scrapped their way to a comeback victory on Tuesday but couldn’t find similar success as the series continued.
The O’s looked completely outmatched in the series opener on Monday. Cleveland’s offense was able to cross the plate for 12 runs while Cory Kluber gave up just three hits in a complete game shutout.
Dylan Bundy took the mound and the loss, giving up six runs over 4.1 innings. After starting the season as the Orioles clear number one pitcher, Bundy has fallen into the same slump that plagues the rest of the rotation. Following his excellent start against New York in late May, Bundy held an ERA of 2.89. In the four starts since, his ERA has climbed to 3.72.
Game two was much more exciting than the first and featured an Orioles comeback victory. Manny Machado led the way by going 4/4 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI’s. In the fifth inning Machado hit his second homer of the night to tie the game at 5-5.
Machado came through once again in the seventh with a double off the right field wall. The ball was smoked and almost found its way out of the park. Adam Jones was able to match Manny’s double in the very next at bat, bringing in the go-ahead run.
The bullpen was even more impressive, keeping the Indians off the board through the final five innings. Bleier, Castro, Givens, and Brach all had excellent performances to close out the 6-5 win. Castro showed great poise as he picked up the first win of his career. The young pitcher entered the game in the seventh with the bases loaded and was able to get the final two outs without surrendering run.
The Orioles had a shot at another comeback on Wednesday but ultimately came up short and lost 5-1. Down 3-0 in the seventh inning, the Orioles started a potential comeback by loading the bases with no outs. However, this brief outburst of offense was quickly shut down by Terry Francona. The manager wasted no time going to his bullpen and grabbing Andrew Miller in order to get out of the jam.
Joey Rickard pinch hit for Hyun Soo Kim and hit a grounder to third base. While Rickard was able to reach first base on the play, the lead runner was cut down at home plate and the O’s remained scoreless. Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejada struck out in the ensuing at bats to strand the game-tying runs.
The series finale started with a very rare Orioles lead. Seth Smith hit his fourth leadoff homer of the season to give the O’s a quick 1-0 advantage. That didn’t last long though as the Indians scored two runs in both the second and third innings to take a 4-2 lead. Cleveland added two more runs before the game ended as they cruised to a 6-3 win and series victory.
The Orioles will hit the road tomorrow for two series against the Rays and Blue Jays. With the Birds still sitting at the bottom of the AL East standings, they will take all the divisional matchups they can get as they look to climb back into contention.
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