The Orioles five-game winning streak came to a screeching halt as the Birds were swept this past weekend by the Oakland Athletics. Oakland always present problems for Baltimore, no matter how well the A’s are playing but this one stung a bit.
This season can be characterized as streaky for the Birds who began the season winning their first four games, only to suffer an eight-game losing streak shortly after. They’ve had three stretches of four-game losing streaks over the 2 month season.
Entering the weekend Oakland series, the O’s looked as if they were finally breaking out of their season-long funk. They’d play atrocious in one series (swept by the Yankees) and look like a completely different team the next series (sweeping Kansas City).
Hopes had been high for the Orioles after sweeping Kansas City last week. The O’s headed out west for the first time this season to battle the sub .500 A’s and the hot Mariners, but now things are looking grim for the Birds.
Let’s break down the series by the numbers.
Game 1: Orioles 2 Oakland 6
The Oakland Athletics had lost seven of their last nine games entering Friday night while the Orioles were riding a five-game winning streak. Oakland’s struggles were partly because they were last in the American League in runs scored. They had no trouble scoring runs Friday night as they broke out and scored six runs.
Chris Tillman (2-3) started for the Birds in the opener and kept the O’s in the game for the most part. He tossed 4.1 innings, allowed six hits, surrendered only one earned run (two overall), three walks and two strikeouts.
Alfredo Simon (1-1), who recently rejoined the Orioles (after his ordeal in his home country in the off-season) relieved Tillman, and only threw two innings while allowing three earned runs on four hits.
The Athletics were able to put runners on base in each inning, as each of Oakland’s starting nine had at least one hit. RBIs were spread out among five different players for the A’s. Oakland reached double-digit hits for the second consecutive game.
The Oriole offense struggled throughout the entire series, as per usual when facing the Oakland hurlers. Gio Gonzalez (5-2) only allowed one earned run (two runs total), five hits, struck out seven, but walked five over his five innings of work and received the no-decision.
Vlad Guerrero and Nick Markakis extended their hitting streaks to 12 games each.
Game 2 Orioles 2 Oakland 4
Brad Bergesen (1-6) got the call for the middle game of the three-game set and really did not pitch badly keeping the Birds in the game. Bergesen threw 5.1 innings, scattered nine base hits, allowed only two earned runs (three overall) on two walks and five strikeouts.
Again, the Orioles could not muster any offense against the dominant A’s starters. Josh Outman (1-0) made his second start of the season. Outman had not won a game since June 8th, 2009 against the Twins as he underwent Tommy John surgeryand missed all of the 2010 season.
Outman received a no-decision in his first outing of the season against the Angels after he tossed seven innings and allowed only one run. Saturday night, he threw six innings, surrendered two earned runs on six hits, five walks and two strikeouts to earn his first major-league win since 2009.
Outfield Coco Crisp had two hits and drove in the go-ahead run in the 6th inning for the A’s. Four Oakland starters recorded two hits and Oakland accumulated double-digit hits for the third consecutive game – which was only the second time this season.
Guerrero was able to extend his hitting streak to 13 games with a 5th inning single, but Markakis was hitless and his 12-game hitting streak ended after an 0-4.
Game 3 Orioles 4 Athletics 6
Zach Britton (5-3) toed the rubber in the finale of the three-game series in Oakland on Sunday afternoon, and Oriole fans would assume that the Birds would have a very good shot at winning at salvaging the last game.
Britton was uncharacteristic as he allowed a career-high 10 hits and six earned runs over 5.2 innings as this was only the second time Britton has really been roughed up in an outing at the major-league level. He surrendered as many runs Sunday as he did in his previous four starts.
The Orioles struck for four runs in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Felix Pie, a couple of RBI groundouts and a run scored on a bases loaded walk. They took a 4-1 lead in the top half only to see the A’s recapture the lead in the bottom half and not look back.
The bottom of the fourth was capped off by a three-run HR from former National Josh Willingham, and then an insurance run was added in the bottom of the 5th to make the score 6-4.
Although he didn’t stun the Orioles, A’s starter Guillermo Moscoso (2-0) threw five innings, surrendered four earned runs, on five hits, two walks and one strikeout for his second win in a row.
The Athletics again recorded double-digit hits for the 4th game in a row, something the A’s had not done all season.
Guerrero extended his hitting streak to 14 games after a late 8th inning single. Guerrero only recorded three hits this series (a single in each game).
Adam Jones was taken out of the game after two at-bats in Sunday’s game due to a sore right shoulder. There is nothing to worry about, he is just resting his shoulder and will be back in the lineup on Tuesday night in Seattle.
The Orioles have now lost 12 of their last 13 meetings in Oakland and 20 of their last 24 contests against the A’s.
Starter/reliever Bergesen was sent back down to Triple-A Norfolk before Sunday’s game and starter Chris Tillman was sent down as well after the game.
Bergesen was 1-6 with a 5.35 ERA in 9 starts (10 games) this season, while Tillman was 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts for the Birds.
Starter Brian Matusz will make his season debut on Wednesday, June 1st in Seattle and the Orioles will go with a 4-man rotation until June 7th, and then Showalter will decide who the next starter will be.
Reliever Chris Jakubauskas was recalled from Norfolk on Monday morning before the opening game in Seattle. Jakubauskas was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in Norfolk, but is fresh off of a seven inning, one run start this past Thursday. He will be the Orioles long man in the bullpen.
Memorial Day in Seattle
After being swept out of Oakland, the Orioles looked to change their fortune as they headed north to square off against the hot Seattle Mariners. Monday afternoon the teams hooked up for a Memorial Day matinee featuring Oriole win-lead Jake Arrieta and struggling Mariner Doug Fister.
The Mariners had won 10 of their last 12 games, and are 19-11 in their last 30 contests, while the Orioles had lost three straight coming into Monday’s contest.
Arrieta (6-3) only lasted 2.1 innings, allowed four earned runs, on four hits, four walks and three strikeouts. This is the fourth time this season Arrieta has failed to make it out of the fourth inning, yet he leads the team with six wins.
The Mariners jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, and never looked back as Fister impressed the Mariner faithful. He tossed 7.1 innings, surrendered three earned runs, on seven hits, walked one, and struck out a career-high nine and picked up his first victory since April 30th.
Mark Reynolds hit his seventh homerun of the season in the top of the third inning, but it was only a solo shot.
Guerrero was unable to record a hit and his 14-game hitting streak ended on Monday afternoon.
The Oriole bullpen tossed 5.2 scoreless innings in relief of Arrieta, following 2.1 scoreless innings on Sunday in Oakland.
Adam Jones pinch ran for Guerrero and everything seemed fine. He just wants to rest his shoulder and he’s ready to make his return tonight after resting the shoulder for a couple of days.
Derrek Lee began baseball workouts on Sunday with no reported problems. He should be back in the lineup this week.
There is still no word on Brian Roberts. He should be reevaluated within the next week and a half to check the concussion symptoms.
Game 2 Preview in Seattle
Tonight the Orioles face-off against former Ace Erik Bedard, and this might not be the best time to take on their ex-starter. Bedard is 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA, but he has not allowed a run in the last 15 innings and is looking for his fourth straight win against the struggling O’s.
The Orioles have only scored 11 runs and are batting a minuscule .129 with runners in scoring position over their four-game skid. The Orioles try to avoid losing their fifth straight game since their early-season eight-game losing streak.
Ace Jeremy Guthrie (2-6) will toe the rubber in the middle game of the three game set tonight. Guthrie sports a respectable 3.63 ERA, but was roughed up last time out against Kansas City as he allowed five runs and nine hits over seven innings in a no-decision.
Guerrero can’t find his stroke over the last seven days as he is six for his last 29 (.207) with no homeruns and only four RBI. Markakis is batting only .179 (five for 28) with no homeruns and only two RBI in the last week. Reynolds is struggling as he is five for his last 24 (.208) with 2 homeruns and only four RBIs in the past seven games.
One of the lone bright spots for the Birds over the last seven days has been recently recalled outfielder Nolan Reimold, who is five for his last 14 with two homeruns, five RBI and three runs scored.
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About the Author
Written by Alex Van Rees
I am 22 years old and I recently graduated from James Madison University this May with a BA degree and a major in journalism. I live in Reston, VA, about 20 minutes outside of Washington. I am looking for an entry-level position with a sports media company where I can demonstrate my writing, interviewing and technical skills to better the organization.