Wade Miley tried to avoid the awful fate that has befallen most of the pitchers in the Orioles rotation, but he followed up three solid innings with a strange middle-inning blowup that broke another game wide open.
Here’s what was strange about it: The Cubs got the leadoff hitter on base in both the fourth and fifth innings and the next batter hit into a double play on each occasion. Somehow, Miley still managed to give up seven runs.
“As crazy as it sounds, the numbers looked terrible, but I felt more like my last start than the previous ones prior to that,’’ Miley said. “I’ve just got to get back in the bullpen and continue to work. In the fifth inning, I got the double-play ball and it kind of snowballed. I kind of did the same thing in the fourth. I was able to manage it. Falling behind with two outs is just not staying aggressive.”
Miley didn’t cut himself any slack when he was asked the difference between this solid starts early in the season and his struggles of late.
“Were they that good, though?’’ he said. “I would call it lucky. Everything is result-oriented. You smile and you’re happy because you walk away with a zero in five innings with seven walks. You take it, but I think that may be where the problem is with me. I accepted that, and then when those groundball double plays turned into doubles and the walks were scoring. That’s where I am right now.”
The orange-clad portion of the announced 40,258 clearly didn’t enjoy watching the O’s drop six games below .500 while the Cubs returned to sea level at 45-45.
The Orioles were able to battle back when Kevin Gausman gave up eight runs Friday night, but lost anyway. This time, former Oriole Jake Arrieta wasn’t so inclined to let them up.
Arrieta carried a one-hit shutout into the fifth inning before catcher Caleb Joseph got the Orioles on the scoreboard with his fourth home run of the season — a solo shot into the left-field bleachers that was his 12th hit in his past nine games.
Arrieta was facing the Orioles for the first time at Oriole Park. He had faced them at Wrigley Field the year after he was traded to the Cubs along with Pedro Strop for veteran pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. In that Aug. 22, 2014, start, Arrieta pitched seven innings and allowed just a run on four hits — the only run that day coming on a solo home run by Nelson Cruz.
This time, Arrieta allowed four hits over 6 2/3 innings and allowed a second run to score in the seventh on an infield RBI single by Rubén Tejada. Joseph added an RBI single off reliever Eddie Butler in the ninth that raised his batting average to .293.
Arrieta has been answering questions about his days as an Oriole all weekend, and he continued to speak highly of the Orioles and their fans after his victory Saturday night.
“Playing here in Camden Yards, it's one of the most beautiful parks in all of baseball, and it was just really cool…It really was,’’ Arrieta said. “The fans were gracious. Some chirping in the bullpen before the game, which I expect. But, all in all, it was a great experience.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to play here for a few years. Now I've moved on to this phase of my career. But, you know, I wouldn't trade the years I was here for anything. It was an enjoyable experience. I learned a lot, and I'm able to be the player I am today because of what I went through while I was in the organization.”
Manny gets caught: Every once in awhile, Manny Machado takes a chance on the bases and sometimes it makes you scratch your head. He tried to steal third base in a two-on, one-out situation in the first inning with Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo due up and was thrown out easily by Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. He stayed on third and motioned that Kris Bryant missed the tag, but manager Buck Showalter declined to have the play reviewed.
The leadoff experiment: With the return of Davis from the disabled list this weekend, Showalter decided to move Adam Jones back into the leadoff spot, but things haven’t gone well there during the first two games of the series. Jones reached base only on a hit-by-pitch in five plate appearances Friday and went hitless in five at-bats Saturday night.