Nothing changed when the Orioles returned home Friday night to open an interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals, hope as they might.
Their 11-2 loss before an announced crowd of 26,341 at Camden Yards had all the touchstones of the painful road trip that preceded it.
Their starting pitcher got hit hard and put them behind early. The fresh bullpen arms du jour let the game get comically out of reach.
But any deficit is too big when you manage just five hits.
"Every mistake gets kind of magnified by when they have a really good pitcher on the mound and we're not scoring any runs," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Usually, that's enough to keep us engaged in a game, but we didn't do much."
With the loss, the Orioles fell to 32-34, and have lost eight of their past nine games overall.
Asked whether there was anything to say that could get the team out of its funk, Showalter said those conversations were already under way.
"We're certainly not going to, when we do stuff like that, we certainly don't invite everybody, so to speak," Showalter said. "Those things have been done by a lot of different people, including the players. We'll keep looking for ways to get better."
"It's been tough, but [center fielder Adam Jones] has been our leader," left fielder Hyun Soo Kim said through interpreter Derrick Chung. "He's been leading us well, and I know that we're going to be able to turn this around. … It's more of a team effort, so when we're going well, everybody is doing well. When we're not, it's the whole team. That's how we think about it."
Gausman gets hit: It wasn't the quick collapse of some of his more recent starts, but Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman was batted around a bit by the Cardinals (31-35).
Things went smoothly in his first two innings, but the first three batters of the third singled before Gausman walked in one run and had a second score on a deep sacrifice fly to right field.
But a two-run home run by No. 9 hitter Paul DeJong on a hanging slider put the Orioles down 4-1 in the fourth inning, and Gausman allowed another run in his final frame, the sixth. The final batter he faced, José Martinez, doubled to right field and scored while Gabriel Ynoa was on the mound.
Showalter said he badly wanted to get Gausman through that sixth inning, something Gausman was hoping for himself as well given that the rotation has hit that mark just once in the past 10 games.
"I think that as a starter our job is to go at least six innings — whether we give up 10 runs or two runs, it's to get through six," Gausman said. "We're just killing our bullpen right now as starters, so that was kind of my goal, to get through that sixth. ... Obviously things aren't going our way right now, so just try to battle and minimize."
Gausman's puzzlingly bad 2017 continued on a day he allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking three but striking out seven.
His ERA climbed to 6.60, and his record dropped to 3-6 with the loss.
Ynoa loses touch: Gausman left trailing 4-1 with a man on second, but Ynoa saw to it that that wasn't the case for long. Ynoa allowed a single on his first pitch to make it 5-1, and by the time his 1 1/3 innings were through, he'd allowed three home runs and five runs overall.
Only three of those runs were earned, as he himself committed an error with two outs in the seventh and had his next pitch hit out to left field.
Ynoa had a 6.93 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP at Triple-A Norfolk as a starter, so bringing him up out of necessity into a struggling bullpen seemed puzzling at the time.
"Lot of center-cut fastballs," Showalter said. "That's been a challenge he's had in Norfolk and it carried over for us."
The other man who joined the Orioles bullpen Friday, left-hander Vidal Nuño, allowed a home run in the ninth to make it five long balls for the Cardinals on Friday.
As a staff, the Orioles have now allowed five or more runs in 13 straight games.
Bats quiet again: Showalter has said often this week that it's not just one aspect of the team that's to blame for the skid down the standings. The Orioles managed just five hits, and only two after the third inning, while scoring just two runs.
The first came in the third inning when left fielder Hyun Soo Kim singled, went to third on a double by right fielder Seth Smith and scored on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Manny Machado.
The second run scored on Trey Mancini's solo homer in the ninth, his 11th of the season.
The Orioles have now averaged 3.4 runs per game over their past nine.
Kim Day: Kim ended up with nearly half of the Orioles' hits on the day, and also made two good plays in left field. In the fourth inning, Cardinals infielder Aledmys Diaz singled and Kim cut it off on a hop and hit cutoff man J.J. Hardy, who threw him out at second base.
In the fifth inning, Kim ended the frame by starting a 7-4 double play on what appeared to be a hit-and-run. With one out and two runners on, catcher Yadier Molina lined out to left field with the runner going.
Designated hitter Dexter Fowler was doubled off second base.