Orioles Fall 5-4 to Phillies as Comeback Attempt Comes up Short

BALTIMORE– The Baltimore Orioles took the field on Thursday night attempting to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time all season.  Unfortunately, the Orioles couldn’t complete a rally from 5-0 down and ultimately fell 5-4 to the Phillies in the four-game series finale between the two clubs.

Kevin Gausman got the start for the Birds and struggled mightily after back-to-back scoreless innings to start the game. In the third frame, Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro started off what would be a big night for himself with a single. Cesar Hernandez followed that with a single of his own to give the Phillies two runners on with nobody out.

After a Rhys Hoskins pop out, Odubel Herrera reached on an infield single to load the bases for Carlos Santana. Santana delivered a single, scoring Alfaro to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Nick Williams then provided a fielder’s choice, scoring Hernandez to extend the Phillies’ lead to 2-0.

The Phillies (52-40) got back to work in the fourth when Scott Kingery led off the inning with a single. Aaron Altherr was hit by a pitch to give the Phillies two on and nobody out once again. A wild pitch from Gausman moved the runners to second and third for Alfaro, who doubled to deep right, extending the Phillies lead to 4-0.

As the Orioles offense has done so often this season, it remained dormant through five innings. The Phillies struck again in the top of the sixth inning when Alfaro homered to center to make it 5-0 Philadelphia. After back-to-back singles, Gausman’s night was finished after giving up the aforementioned five runs, going only 5.0 innings and giving up a career-high 12 hits.

Paul Fry, Miguel Castro, Tanner Scott, and Brad Brach pitched four innings of scoreless relief out of the Orioles bullpen to keep the Phillies at-bay while the Orioles attempted to mount a comeback.

The Orioles offense picked up their first run of the night in the bottom half of the sixth inning when Manny Machado picked up his 64th RBI of the season with an infield single, scoring Tim Beckham who led off the inning with a double.

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Manny Machado was 2-4 last night for the Orioles. Image Credit: The Runner Sports

The Orioles cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh when Trey Mancini connected for his 12th homer of the season. That chased Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who was strong again for the Phillies. In 6.2 innings, he allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

The Phillies brought in former Orioles closer Tommy Hunter who was greeted by a solo shot from Jace Peterson on his first pitch to cut the Phillies lead to 5-4. Hunter induced a Beckham ground-out to end the inning.

The Orioles wouldn’t threaten again despite a one-out Machado single in the eighth as Adam Jones flew out and Chris Davis struck out looking to end the inning. The Orioles went quietly in the ninth and took the 5-4 loss.

Gausman (4-7, 4.33 ERA) took the loss for Orioles with Pivetta (6-7, 4.58 ERA) picking up the win for the Phillies. Seranthony Dominguez picked up the save for Phillies as well, his ninth of the season.

The Orioles (26-68) will welcome the Texas Rangers to town for a three-game series prior to the All-Star Break. On Friday, Alex Cobb (2-11, 6.67ERA) will get the start for the Orioles and oppose Cole Hamels (4-8, 4.28 ERA), who will take the ball for the Rangers.

First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and can be seen on MASN 2 and heard on 105.7 The Fan.

Image Credit: Camden Chat

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Orioles swept by Phillies as offense goes quiet again

PHILADELPHIA — Despite out-hitting Philadelphia 14-8, the Phillies picked up a two-game sweep as the Orioles scored three combined runs, spoiling two solid starts by Alex Cobb and Yefry Ramirez.

Following Wednesday’s action, the Orioles (24-61) still own the worst record in Major League Baseball and stand 33.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox (59-29) for first place in the American League East. The next-worst team in the majors, the Kansas City Royals (25-60) are only 22.5 games back in the AL Central, with the Cleveland Indians (47-37) leading that division.

Meanwhile, the Phillies (47-37) remain in a competitive run with the Atlanta Braves (49-36) for first place in the National League East division. Just 1.5 games behind Atlanta, the Phillies remain in the discussion of teams included in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. However, the Phillies appear much more open to signing Machado long-term, rather than shipping off a group of prospects for potentially a two-month rental.

It was hard to ignore the “We Want Manny” chants heard at Citizens Bank Park during this series. Although teams like the Diamondbacks, Indians, and Dodgers seem much more willing to deal some prospects to Baltimore, keep in mind that former Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail, the man who drafted Machado, is now the Phillies’ President of Baseball Operations. If Machado does not end up in Philly this month, look for a strong pursuit by MacPhail and the Phillies for Machado’s services after the season concludes.

Game 1 (3-2 PHI): After about an hour and 20-minute rain delay, Phillies starter Zach Eflin dazzled on Tuesday night, winning his sixth straight after limiting the Orioles to two runs on five hits and six strikeouts in seven innings. Mark Trumbo drove in Baltimore’s two runs on a solo home run in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the fourth that scored Machado.

Aside from Trumbo, the rest of the Orioles offense produced just five hits and two walks. The two runs delivered by Trumbo would not be enough for Cobb, who lost his 10th game of the season. In the third inning, Maikel Franco singled with one out and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eflin. After a mound visit, Cobb walked Cesar Hernandez. The following batter, Rhys Hoskins, scored both Franco and Hernandez on a double to Adam Jones. The Hoskins RBI double tied the game at 1, but the O’s regained a 2-1 lead in the fourth with Trumbo’s sac fly.

Baltimore did not hold the lead for long. In the bottom of the fourth, Andrew Knapp tripled with two outs to score Nick Williams, who had walked earlier in the inning. Knapp’s second three-bagger of the season ended up being all Philadelphia needed to seal the win, as neither team scored the rest of the game. Eflin now holds a 7-2 record, while Cobb sits at 2-10. Cobb gave the Orioles a chance to win, allowing three runs on four hits, three walks and five strikeouts over 6.2 innings, but the Knapp triple doomed him.

Game 2 (4-1 PHI): Despite it being the Fourth of July, there were not many offensive fireworks on Wednesday, especially on the Orioles end. Soon-to-be All-Star Aaron Nola was brilliant again for Philly, striking out nine Orioles hitters over seven innings and lifting his record to 11-2 in the process. He allowed one run on seven hits and two walks.

In the top of the third, the Orioles plated their lone run on a double by Jones that scored Tim Beckham, who reached base via walk. Beckham, Jones, and Jonathan Schoop each went 2-for-4 on the day at the plate.

Ramirez cruised through his first four frames, three of which were 1-2-3 innings. But, in the fifth, Williams walked with one out before Scott Kingery doubled to left field to put runners on second and third. Then, Jorge Alfaro hit a ground ball to first base that was easily playable for Chris Davis, but the ball found it’s way under the first basemen’s glove and continued rolling into right field. Both runners easily scored on the play, giving the Phillies all the offense they needed to complete the sweep.

After Ramirez’s five strong innings, David Hess made his first major league relief appearance. He tossed the sixth and seventh innings before Britton got some work in for the eighth inning. Off Hess in the seventh, Carlos Santana walked from the lead-off spot,  then Williams delivered his 10th home run of the season that landed in the Phillies bullpen. Ramirez (0-2) collected the loss. Hess’s ERA is up to 6.06 and continues to rise.

Up Next: The Orioles continue their first July road trip at Target Field for a four-game set with the Twins (35-48) beginning on Thursday. The Twins, in third place and 11.5 games behind the Indians in the AL Central, took two of three from the Orioles to open up the regular season.

Image Credit: Derik Hamilton, Associated Press

Orioles head to Philadelphia for two-game Set against the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA- The Baltimore Orioles look to build on Sunday’s 8-2 win against the Los Angeles Angels as they head to Philadelphia for a two-game set to open up what will be a six-game road trip.

The Orioles avoided a three-game sweep and received another quality start from starting pitcher Kevin Gausman on Sunday. Gausman ran his record to 4-6 on the season with Sunday’s eight-inning, two-run effort. This was Gausman’s tenth quality start, tying fellow right-handed starter Dylan Bundy for the team lead.

The Orioles did drop two of three to the Angels, but saw the bats wake up on Sunday when they clubbed four home runs. It was the Orioles’ first three-homer plus game since June 19 against the Nationals.

The Phillies come into Tuesday’s series opener after taking three of four against the Washington Nationals in Philadelphia.  They received a walk-off pinch hit homer by catcher Andrew Knapp in the finale of that series on Sunday to give them the 4-3 victory.

Standings Check-In: The Orioles are currently sitting at 24-59 which lands them in the cellar of the AL East, 31.5 games back of the first place Boston Red Sox (57-29).  The New York Yankees (54-28, 1GB) are in second place with the Tampa Bay Rays (42-42, 14 GB) and the Toronto Blue Jays (39-45, 17GB) rounding out the division.

The Phillies (45-37) enter this series with the Birds in second place in the NL East, 3.5 games back of the first place Atlanta Braves (49-34).

Last Meeting: The last meeting between the two clubs took place on May 16 when the Phillies downed the Orioles 4-1 in the only game of the series. The game on May 15 was postponed due to rain. In the May 16 affair, Andrew Cashner started for the Orioles and gave up three runs on five hits over 5.2 innings. Nick Pivetta was better for the Phillies going seven strong and scattering just two hits while striking out 11.

Baltimore leads the all-time series against Philadelphia 29-24.

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The Orioles will look for Alex Cobb to right the ship in the series opener. Image Credit: PressBox

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Tuesday, July 3, 7:05pm- Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.75 ERA) vs. Zach Eflin (6-2, 3.02 ERA)-MASN2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Wednesday, July 4, 4:05pm- TBD vs. Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48 ERA)- MASN2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Phillies:

  • Nola, who starts game two for the Phillies, is quietly putting together an All- Star caliber season.  He is tied for second in the NL in wins with Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
  • At the plate the Phillies are led by center-fielder Odubel Herrera. Herrera is hitting .283 on the season with 14 home runs and 47 RBI to help pace the Philadelphia offense.
  • The Phillies appear to be on their way to their first winning season since 2011 when they were 102-60.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • The Orioles continue to struggle at the plate. Despite their eight-run outburst on Sunday, they rank last in the MLB in batting average and on base percentage and are 29th in runs scored.
  • Cobb continues to be a free agent disappointment for the Birds. In four full and healthy seasons as a starter for the Tampa Bay Rays, Cobb averaged a 3.33 ERA. This dwarfs his current ERA of 6.75.
  • Since his eight-game hiatus from the lineup, first basemen Chris Davis has gone just 6-for-34. Three of those hits have been home runs and Davis has walked three times.

Image Credit: Washington Times