OAKLAND, CA — After losing a series to the Angels 2-1, the Orioles needed to make up some ground this weekend against the second-to-worst team in the American League. That did not happen, and Baltimore comes out of the weekend in the same situation they went into Oakland with: two games below .500 (58-60), and in the back seat of the AL Wild Card Race.
Game one: 7-2 Orioles
The entire series went up and down for both teams. Thursday began with Baltimore slamming four home runs off Oakland starter Chris Smith. Those home runs featured two back-to-back sequences that both involved Trey Mancini. In the fourth inning, Mancini followed Adam Jones, and in the sixth inning the 25-year-old infielder was shadowed by Mark Trumbo.
Mancini finished the game with three hits. Jones completed the game with three RBI; one on the solo homer and two on a seventh-inning double.
Wade Miley tossed seven innings, allowing one run on three hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. The last time Miley lasted seven innings came on June 1 against the Red Sox. Zach Britton racked up his 10’th save of the season in the win.
Game two: 5-4 Athletics
After not allowing a run in his three prior appearances, Brad Brach struggled on Friday night. The Orioles held a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning, but things would unravel quickly. Left-fielder Matt Joyce, batting leadoff, got the inning started with a double off Brach. Shortstop Marcus Semien singled to left, advancing Joyce to third. Joyce scored and tied the game when second baseman Jed Lowrie hit a ground-rule double. After Brach earned the first out on a strikeout, Chris Davis dropped a pop-up in foul territory. Oakland got the winning run in on a sacrifice fly by Chad Pinder.
The loss yielded Brach a record of .500 at 3-3. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs over 5.1 innings. He tallied 11 strikeouts on Friday night, which beat his previous season-high of nine on July 26 against Tampa Bay.
Jones hit a solo home run and scored Manny Machado on a double-play RBI. Machado scored again on a double by Jonathan Schoop.
Game three: 12-5 Orioles
The Birds scored seven runs in the first inning off A’s starter Sean Manaea, who recorded just one out before being pulled from the game. The O’s sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning. Saturday became the first time since May 20, 2008 that the Orioles scored seven or more runs in the first inning, according to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com.
The Orioles pounced on the A’s on Saturday, finishing with 20 hits and eight doubles. Eight doubles goes down as a season-high for Baltimore. Amazingly, the Orioles accomplished all of the offensive production without a home run. Tim Beckham went 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI on two doubles. Both Jones and Joey Rickard tallied three hits, with Jones notching three RBI on a double and a single. Machado and Davis contributed by both finishing with two RBI – Machado on a double and a single, and Davis on two singles.
Despite the offensive onslaught, the Orioles did not play a perfect game. Starter Dylan Bundy gave up three home runs in the first two innings on home runs by Khris Davis and Matt Olson. However, Oakland never truly threatened in the game. The Orioles kept the A’s at bay, and Oakland did not get on the board again until they eighth inning.
Saturday indicates the second time Baltimore scored 12 runs in August. The Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 12-3, on Aug. 6 at Camden Yards.
Game four: 9-3 Athletics
The Orioles scored one run apiece in the first two innings on RBI singles by Schoop and Davis. Baltimore controlled early, but a five-run fourth inning put the game in Oakland’s favor. After making his way through three innings unscathed, Jeremy Hellickson imploded in the fourth.
The A’s played small ball to get their first two runs on the board, but infielder Matt Chapman‘s three-run home run awarded Oakland the lead. Semien and Joyce homered later in the game, and eventually Baltimore found themselves down by six. Machado added a solo home run in the eighth inning, that came when the O’s trailed by six.
Sunday represents Hellickosn’s worst outing since coming to Baltimore in late July. Chris Tillman made his first career relief appearance on Sunday, registering two strikeouts. He threw 20 pitches, 11 strikes.
- Beckham played all four of these games from the leadoff position in Baltimore’s lineup. That did not impact his play. Beckham did not record a hit on Sunday, but in this series he notched eight hits, four doubles, a triple, and three RBI.
- Also at the plate in Oakland, Jones went 7-for-17 with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.
- J.J. Hardy, the Orioles’ starting shortstop prior to Beckham’s arrival, will not return from the 60-day disabled list on Friday, Aug. 18. Hardy suffered a fractured wrist against the Cardinals on June 18 when he got hit by a pitch. Even if Hardy returns with a decent amount of time left in the season, its hard to envision manager Buck Showalter putting him back in the lineup on a regular basis. Hardy turns 35 on Saturday, owns a .211 batting average in 2017, and his contract expires after the season.
Up Next: Baltimore wraps up their 10-game road trip with a three-game series in Seattle against the Mariners. Going into the weekend, Seattle held the second Wild Card spot in the AL. After getting swept by the Angels in four games at home, the Mariners (59-60) now find themselves on the outside looking in, with the Angels, Twins and Royals all overtaking them in the race.
Seattle sits two games back in the Wild Card standings, with Baltimore right behind them at 2.5 games.
Image Credit: Mercury News