The Baltimore Orioles had hoped to end their nine game road trip on a high note by taking two of three from the Cleveland Indians, but despite battling back from a four run deficit to tie the game, the O's dropped the series finale 6-4 and finish the road trip 3-6.
Zach Britton got the surprise start for the Orioles last night and his performance was nothing short of disappointing. Britton came right out of the gate struggling loading the bases before recording an out in the first inning. It appeared that Britton might get out of the first with minimal damage as he was able to get two outs with just one run scoring, but allowed a two out double followed by a two out single that put the Orioles in an early 4-0 hole.
Britton continued to struggle and lasted just 2 1/3 innings, while allowing four runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. In Britton's defense, two of the base runners to start the game reached on infield singles, but nevertheless his performance was very below average and his command was missing in action.
Kevin Gausman (2-4) came on in relief of Britton and got out of a first and second with one out jam he encountered and pitched well until the fifth inning when he allowed two runs.
The worst part of Gausman's two runs allowed is that it came right after the Orioles offense had tied the game in the top of the fifth inning. With two on and two out and the Birds trailing 4-1, Manny Machado came through in a big way as he scorched a three run home run to dead center field that seemed to not get more than 30 feet off the ground to tie the game.
Machado's home run was the only hit the Orioles would get all night with runners in scoring position, but it was a big one nonetheless. Adam Jones got the Orioles on the scoreboard in the fourth with his 29th home run of the season, a solo moon shot to left field.
Baltimore could not muster any type of rally after the fifth inning as it seemed to deflate the team to see the Indians retake the lead right after the Birds tied the game. The two runs by Cleveland after the Orioles tied the game were the 96th and 97th runs allowed by Orioles pitching after Baltimore scored in their at bat before, which is good for second worst in the American League.
The O's have now lost three straight series and find themselves four games back of the second wildcard spot and now have three teams in front of them for that wildcard spot. The season is by no means over for the Birds, but this team is going to have to go on one heck of a run over their last 24 games in the likes of a 18-6 record the rest of the way to have a realistic shot at securing their second consecutive playoff berth.
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