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Orioles' Cashner after another wasted quality start: 'It's just as hard for [the offense] as it is for me'

After each of his past five non-rain-delay outings, Andrew Cashner has been remarkably positive despite the disappointing results — that each start has gone to waste.

When Cashner joined the Orioles during spring training, it was to pitch for a contender. Since then, he’s said several times that winning is what’s most important to him, especially more so than his pitching line.

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For the most part, Cashner has held up his end of the bargain, recording his ninth quality start this season in 17 outings in the Orioles’ 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Thursday night. That includes one start June 20 that ended prematurely after a lengthy rain delay in Washington. Take out that start and Cashner has recorded five straight quality starts.

The Orioles’ fate has long been determined, but Thursday night’s series-opening 5-2 loss to the Twins at Target Field – their 10th defeat in their past 11 games — offered some positives, but also more reasons for frustration.

But he’s received the lowest run support of any member of the Orioles’ starting rotation, receiving just 1.64 runs per start. Thursday marked the sixth time in his past seven starts in which the Orioles scored two runs or fewer when he left the game.

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“Cashner pounded the zone,” said second baseman Jonathan Schoop, whose two solo homers accounted for all of the Orioles offense Thursday. “He threw strikes. He kept the hitters off balance and we didn’t score much for him. It’s a little bit of frustration but everybody wants to do good. It’s not like we didn’t want to score for him, so I hope things start changing.”

Cashner said knowing he’s pitching with a small margin of error has helped him keep focused, especially on a night like Thursday, when he said he had his “worst stuff” this season. He was missing high with his four-seam fastball and struggled locating his two-seamer to left-handed hitters, getting no swinging strikes on the pitch.

“I feel like when you’re not scoring runs, you keep your mind sharp on what I want to do out there, thinking pitch to pitch,” Cashner said. “When you have a big lead, sometimes you don’t do that as well. I think it’s keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and really focusing on down or up and getting over the front side and stuff like that.”

You can’t win when you don’t score runs, and the Orioles’ record is 4-13 in games Cashner has started. But, once again, Cashner tried his best to put a positive spin on a frustrating night.

“Yeah, these guys do want to score runs,” Cashner said. “It’s more about picking those guys up in spots. We hit the ball hard today. They made some great plays. It’s more from a team aspect of picking guys up and constantly staying positive and not really focusing on the negative. I’m a big positive guy, so for me when I’m not pitching, try to pick these guys up because it’s just as hard for them as it is for me.”

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