Entering Friday, 92% of the Orioles’ games this year had been decided by four runs or fewer. Night in and night out, they have played close games, and night in and night out, they have often won.
In their series opener at Camden Yards against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, though, the Orioles played by far their most lopsided game of the year. Grayson Rodriguez allowed three home runs — including a fourth-inning grand slam to Rangers star shortstop Corey Seager — and eight earned runs as Baltimore fell, 12-2.
Before Friday, the largest margin in an Orioles game this season was a 6-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals earlier this month.
With an announced crowd of 20,293 witnessing the Orioles debut their all-black — albeit with a colorful interior — City Connect uniforms, Adley Rutschman gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with a first-inning home run.
But in the next frame, Rodriguez allowed a two-run homer to Leody Taveras, and in a nightmarish fourth inning, the Rangers piled it on. Josh Jung tripled on a ball misplayed by right fielder Anthony Santander, Josh Smith singled and Robbie Grossman homered. Then the damage really began.
A walk, a hit and an error by shortstop Jorge Mateo — who could have ended the inning by turning a double play — loaded the bases for Seager, one of the highest-paid players in baseball. Rodriguez left his first pitch, a cutter, in the middle of the zone and Seager tattooed it 437 feet to right-center field for the fate-sealing grand slam.
By the time another run crossed the plate, it was an eight-run barrage from the Rangers.
It was the second time in three days that the Orioles were involved in an eight-run inning, as Baltimore tallied as many against the New York Yankees in Wednesday’s win.
Friday marked the third time this month that Rodriguez has allowed at least six earned runs without completing the fourth inning. In 3 1/3 innings Friday, he allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 83 pitches. After posting a 4.07 ERA in five April starts, Rodriguez has had a rough time in his five May starts, recording an ERA of 11.14.
Austin Voth pitched in relief, allowing one earned run in 3 1/3 innings. Cionel Pérez then pitched a scoreless eighth.
Meanwhile, Rangers right-hander Jon Gray continued his strong season by pitching seven innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits and striking out eight. The Orioles mounted a mini-comeback in the eighth against reliever John King as hits from Ryan O’Hearn, Rutschman and Terrin Vavra scored a run. After a single by Ryan Mountcastle, Ramón Urias — playing in his first game in weeks after a hamstring injury — batted with the bases loaded, but grounded out.
In the ninth inning, a position player pitched for the Orioles for the first time this season. Rather than use a reliever in a one-sided game, manager Brandon Hyde opted to send outfielder Ryan McKenna to the mound.
McKenna lofted in much-slower-than-batting-practice pitches, with …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment