There was one thing about the Orioles’ 6-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics that was not open to dispute: It was not a good night to be a starting pitcher.
Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn was pitching a terrific game through four innings, but a line drive off the bat of Trey Mancini hit him squarely on the right wrist and appeared to do some real damage. Blackburn was in obvious pain when he left the field, but the club reported that there was no fracture.
Ubaldo Jiménez also got hit on his pitching arm by a sharp comebacker off the bat of Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell in the second inning, but toughed it out and remained in the game through the fifth inning. He would probably insist that it hurt a lot less than some of the noncontact shots he took in the A’s three-run first inning.
Jiménez allowed home runs to Jed Lowrie and Ryon Healy in the first inning, then settled down to hold the A’s scoreless until the fifth, when Healy struck again to give his team a five-run lead. The homers were Healy’s 22nd and 23rd of the season.
“We couldn’t keep the ball in the ballpark,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You’d like to say take the first inning away, but you can’t take those away. Rough start from him.”
Jiménez chalked it up to a couple of bad pitches but conceded that he’s frustrated by his recent inability to hold down opponents early in games.
“It’s never a good feeling not to be able to be there for the team,” he said. “Today was a tough one. I think in the second inning, I just thought about trying to go as long as I could. Try to stop the bullpen from getting into the game.”
He said the ball that hit him in the arm did not hit any bone and that X-rays were not necessary.
“I was lucky,” he said.
The Orioles have made a habit of climbing back from big deficits and they tried to do that again Tuesday night, scoring twice on Manny Machado’s 27th homer of the season in the sixth inning and making it a one-run game when Jonathan Schoop pulled a two-run single into left field with two outs in the eighth.
Alec Asher and Richard Bleier combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, but Darren O’Day allowed a solo homer to Khris Davis in the ninth.
The Orioles were trying to follow up on another in a string of five series-opening victories this month. They had lost the second game the first four times and did not win any of those series and now must win today’s afternoon finale to break that trend.
finally got the Orioles on the scoreboard in the sixth inning, launching a line drive well up in the center-field bleachers for his 27th homer of the year. That retied him with Schoop for the team lead. Both are on pace to hit 35 this year.
Going the distance
Machado’s homer traveled 453 feet and was his fourth homer of the year of more than 450 feet, according to StatCast. It came on the same night that New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit the second longest home run of the season, a 493-foot shot at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Powell leads the way
A’s rookie Boog Powell, who got to meet the Orioles Hall of Famer of the same name before the game, was in the leadoff spot and hit safely in his first two at-bats. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. He was starting at leadoff for just the third time as a major leaguer, but in the other two starts, he was a combined 4-for-8 with two walks.