The Orioles had been on fire at the plate in the past 20 games entering Monday night's series opener against the Texas Rangers. And up against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who had been tagged for eight runs in his previous start, the Orioles had a good matchup.
But on a night when the ball was flying out of Camden Yards for the Rangers, the Orioles struggled. Despite tallying nine hits and three walks, the Orioles managed just one run while leaving nine men on base and striking out 14 times in an 8-1 loss.
"We've had a pretty good stretch here over the past couple weeks of scoring runs," catcher Caleb Joseph said. "It was just one of these games where they made a lot good pitches, and we just couldn't get anything going."
The Orioles had won 16 of 20 before Monday and were averaging 6.2 runs per game over that span. They had failed to score at least four runs on just three occasions — all losses.
The Orioles' 4.6 runs per game through their first 75 contests this year ranked third in the majors -- they just failed to register the big hit Monday.
With runners on second and third and two down in the second inning, Ryan Flaherty flew out to center. Two innings later, the Orioles recorded back-to-back singles with one away, but the next two hitters both struck out looking, a common occurrence Monday.
Of the Orioles 14 strikeouts, half of them came looking. And on multiple occasions, the Orioles showed their displeasure with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck on called strike threes.
Pearce, among those who showed frustration after watching a questionable third strike, declined to comment on the strike zone after the game, saying he was "going to stay away from that."
"It's one of those things where he made a lot of really good pitches," Joseph said. "We were trying to put the ball in play and be aggressive, but it just wasn't happening."
When the Orioles had their best chance to climb back into the game in the fifth after four straight men reached on three singles and a walk, they again failed to put the ball in play. Chris Davis went down swinging for the second out before Delmon Young flew out to right field. So was the case for the Orioles offense Monday.
"We just didn't capitalize. They did," Pearce said. "So, [we] got to flush it, come back out tomorrow and take care of business."