Orioles right-hander Mike Wright didn’t get hit hard by a pedestrian Oakland Athletics lineup, but he did get hit often in opening game of Saturday’s split doubleheader at Camden Yards.
Wright fell victim to a flurry of soft singles in the Orioles’ 8-4 loss to the A’s in the afternoon game of the doubleheader, allowing five runs (four earned) on a career-high 10 hits – nine of them singles – over five-plus innings of work.
Seven of the first 12 Oakland batters Wright (1-3) faced reached base, including multiple opposite-field hits that the lefty-dominated A’s lineup used to beat defensive shifts.
“But they're hits,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You hit them where people don't play. … I thought they were trying to pull it and it just went off the end of the bat. It wasn't intentional, I'll tell you that.”
An Oakland team that entered the day ranked 11th in the American League in hits totaled 15 hits in Saturday’s opener, the most the Orioles have allowed in a game this season.
The Orioles provided little support for Wright as former Orioles left-hander Rich Hill (4-3) held his old team to one hit over his first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.
An Orioles lineup with so much run-scoring potential scored just one run in 27 innings going into the sixth inning, when the Orioles scored their only run against Hill on Adam Jones’ RBI groundout.
With mostly reserves in the game, the Orioles rallied for three runs in the ninth against Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks, a surge that was capped by Pedro Alvarez’s two-out, two-run double.
An announced crowd of 15,110 watched as Hill held the Orioles to just one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings, stifling the offense with a slow, steady 12-to-6 curveball.
“It's one of those that comes out of the hand, I don't want to say loopy but he's got real late finish,” Showalter said of Hill’s curveball. “That's unusual. ... It's a late-finish curveball. We knew what he was going to do. That's why he's, I think he was fourth or fifth in baseball in strikeouts per nine innings which is hard to do in the American League.”
Through five mostly unspectacular starts, Wright owns a 5.52 ERA on the season. He has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his five starts, and struggled in his first start since his best of the season, when he held a dangerous Chicago White Sox lineup to two runs on five hits over six innings – his second quality start – on April 29.
“I felt like I was throwing really well, just like all the other games,” Wright said. “I was executing some pitches and my [velocity] was pretty good. Felt pretty solid about it. … [It’s] not just [frustrating] because it’s against the shift. [It’s] just because of giving up 10 hits. That’s always frustrating. That’s pretty tough.”
Wright allowed the leadoff man to reach base in four of his six innings, and three of those base runners game around to score.
“You can analyze how they got on base or you can talk about what happened afterwards,” Showalter said. “… You could tell he was a little frustrated by the balls that were falling in. Hopefully he's got some good luck coming his way. They weren’t kind to him today.”
Wright's afternoon ended two batters into the sixth. He allowed a single to left fielder Coco Crisp to open the sixth and was then pulled after walking Yonder Alonso.
Both inherited runners scored against Dylan Bundy – the first on catcher Matt Wieters' passed ball that followed a walk to Marcus Semien to load the bases – and then on Jed Lowrie’s two-run single that gave the A’s a 6-0 lead.
Machado with another multihit game
Third baseman Manny Machado had two hits for his 14th multihit effort – most in the AL -- in 28 games this season.
Machado’s first-inning double off Hill gave him 14 on the season, tying him with Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros for the major league lead.
Machado entered the nightcap having hit safely in seven of his past eight games, a span that includes six multihit games, with 21 extra-base hits on the season (14 doubles and seven homers).
The Orioles offense has struggled throughout the homestand, but the drought would be much worse without Machado, who had about 18 percent of the team’s hits eight games into the 10-game homestand.
Schoop has afternoon to forget
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop struck out in each of his first three at-bats Saturday, the first two coming against Hill.
He opened the third inning striking out on three pitches, swinging through a curveball for strike three. Schoop battled Hill on his next at-bat, fouling off five straight curveballs before swinging through an 88-mph fastball from Hill.
Schoop then struck out with the bases loaded in the sixth against A’s reliever Ryan Dull.
Schoop did have a ninth-inning single off Hendriks to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He’s hitting .313/.333/.469 over his hit streak, raising his season batting average 37 points in the process.
Crisp continues to hurt Orioles
Oakland left fielder Coco Crisp was one of three A’s players with three hits on the afternoon.
Crisp also scored two runs, including one on a passed ball.
He is now hitting .302/.395/.432 in 86 career games against the Orioles and owns a .356/.422/.562 clip against the them at Camden Yards.