Wade Miley spent the first two months of the season succeeding despite admittedly allowing too many base runners.
Monday’s 8-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park was the continuation of a painful regression for him and the Orioles, with Miley not pitching out of the second inning and letting another game get out of reach early.
"I didn’t give us a chance," Miley said. "I pretty much blew that one early on. The first and second inning, let them get out to a big lead like that and set the tempo for the other team. That can’t happen. It can’t continue to happen. Some adjustments have to be made."
In a four-run first inning, seven straight Brewers reached on two walks, four singles and a fielder’s choice. In the second inning, Miley struck out the first batter he faced before loading the bases on two singles and a hit batter. Three runs scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Jesús Aguilar and a double by catcher Manny Piña, and manager Buck Showalter didn’t let Miley face another batter.
“You watch him on his workday, it’s as good as you want to see, which has been one of his fortes, and he hasn’t been able to command the baseball in the games," Showalter said. "Everything else is there. Tells you there are some other challenges going on.”
Miley’s 1 2/3 innings were his shortest healthy start of the season, though now in three of his past six he hasn't pitched out of the third inning. He doesn’t have a quality start since June 1, when he allowed one earned run in seven innings to beat the Boston Red Sox and leave his ERA at 2.82
Since then, Miley has made six starts and allowed 22 runs in 22 1/3 innings to watch his ERA balloon to 5.20.
With a six-run deficit already stinging enough, the Orioles provided an inglorious defensive moment in the third inning.
With shortstop Orlando Arcia on first base, pitcher Brent Suter chopped a ball up the middle and beat the throw for an infield single. Arcia tried to take third base, which was vacated because of the Orioles protecting against a bunt, and beat the throw there, only he slid through the bag.
But third baseman Manny Machado wasn’t able to tag him because the umpire and third base coach Ed Sedar were blocking his way, and noticing that, Arcia went home. The Orioles had him caught in a rundown, but Machado’s throw drew shortstop Rubén Tejada out of the basepath and enabled Arcia to score.
Showalter came out to the mound after to discuss possibly appealing to third base that Arcia never touched the bag, and stood there in silence as they waited.
"It was tricky," catcher Welington Castillo said. "It was tricky, honestly. I just saw the guy. … I knew there wasn’t going to be a play at second base, and Manny was in between second and third. I just thought that I was going to go there just in case. The guy broke there and Manny was there, and I just tried to go back to the plate but it was late."
Showalter said vacating home plate was the biggest problem, though pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis was going to back up third base on the play.
"But in a perfect world you arm-fake that ball to first and take the out on the rounding second base when you realize that you don’t have a play at first," Showalter said. "And there’s some things there. Their pitcher runs real well. And I think sometimes that catches some people off-guard. They’re used to guys not doing that. But we mentioned in the advance meeting.”
Better from the bullpen
Yacabonis was charged with an earned run from that, mainly because no error was actually committed.
But that was the only run allowed in 6 1/3 innings from the Orioles bullpen. Yacabonis was responsible for 3 1/3 of those on his own, allowing three hits and striking out two. From there, Darren O’Day, Donnie Hart and Richard Bleier combined to allow one hit in three scoreless innings — one apiece.
"Darren had two days off and I knew I was going to use him one inning," Showalter said. "So we kept the pitch counts down with him and Bleier and Donnie. They’ve been pitching well here lately. But Yac was the key. Otherwise, we were going to see if you could come down and pitch. Jimmy, we sent him down to get stretched out a little bit and work on some things, shorten up the breaking ball a little bit, and he presented himself well."
Yacabonis’ bonus contribution
The rookie reliever also supplied the Orioles’ only run of the day, grounding out to second base and scoring Tejada from third base in the third inning.
Tejada had singled to open the inning and advanced two bases on an error by right fielder Domingo Santana.
Otherwise, rookie left-hander Suter stymied the Orioles, striking out eight while allowing just four hits.
Rookie Trey Mancini ended an 0-for-14 stretch to pace the Orioles with two hits.