The Orioles certainly are not prone to bullpen meltdowns, but no team is immune to them.
Reliever Mychal Givens came on to pitch the seventh inning of a game the Orioles appeared to have well in hand against the last-place San Diego Padres on Tuesday night and could not get anybody out.
He allowed five straight batters to reach base and the Padres scored four times to overtake the Orioles on the way to a 10-7 victory before 23,876 at Oriole Park.
Givens came on in relief of starter Tyler Wilson, who also had his hands full with a largely unheralded San Diego lineup that banged out 15 hits on the way to their third straight victory. But the Padres saved their best for Givens, who allowed a leadoff double to Matt Kemp and consecutive singles to Yangervis Solarte and Melvin Upton for a run before walking two batters to force home another run, bringing manager Buck Showalter out of the dugout.
“He tried to pick [his command] up a little bit after the fact, but could not seem to find it," Showalter said. “It kind of reminds us that he’s going to have some nights like that with his experience level.”
The Padres (30-42) would score two more runs in the inning and the Orioles (40-30) would lose a second straight game that could easily have been won. If that wasn’t enough bullpen bloodletting, Zach Britton came on in a nonsave situation in the ninth and allowed three runs, though only one of them was earned.
“We got a lead we couldn’t hold, obviously," Showalter said. “We had people who have been real good for us holding that lead, but it just didn’t happen tonight.”
The Orioles had built a three-run lead with three straight two-run rallies — four of those runs coming on a pair of two-run home runs by designated hitter Pedro Alvarez in the fourth and fifth innings. Alvarez finished with five RBIs.
The Orioles went on to load the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Padres closer Fernando Rodney came on and got Adam Jones to bounce out to second base to end the inning. The Orioles scored once in the ninth, but drew no closer.
If Orioles fans were looking for another huge effort by Wilson after the way he beguiled the Boston Red Sox last week, they had to settle for a little less. Wilson was his usual crafty self, but he wasn’t exactly unhittable. The Padres were all over the bases and hit safely in each of the first five innings, but only converted those nine hits and 12 total base runners into three runs. Wilson didn’t retire the side in order until the sixth, but still registered a quality start and left with a 6-3 lead.
Kim is clutch
Hyun Soo Kim continues to do whatever it takes to get on base and contribute to the offense. He came up with Jones in scoring position in the third inning and pulled a sharp bouncer past second baseman Ryan Schimpf to put the Orioles on top, albeit temporarily. It was only Kim’s fifth RBI of the year, but it’s late June and he’s batting .333 with a .415 on-base percentage. Who would have predicted that?
Kim got one of his bigger ovations of the season for a play he didn’t make. He sprinted a long way from left field into foul territory to attempt a sliding catch on a pop foul by Schimpf, but the ball popped out of his glove. Still, the fans clearly appreciated the effort, especially after he crashed into the wall in an unsuccessful attempt to run down Derek Norris’ fourth-inning home run.
Drake’s 2016 debut
Reliever Oliver Drake did not have to wait long to see his first major league action of the season. He was activated and came into a tough situation in the seventh inning. Things didn’t start out well. He immediately threw a wild pitch to allow the tying run to score and allowed another inherited runner to cross the plate on an RBI groundout before getting out of the inning. He did retire six of the seven batters he faced over two innings and was not charged with a run.