On Independence Day of 1945, the Philadelphia Athletics won the first game of a doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns, ending a 19-game road losing streak. A decade later, the A’s were in Kansas City and the Browns were the Orioles.
Not since that A’s skid 76 years ago had an American League team dropped that many road games in a row before the Orioles fell, 10-3, in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon, completing a third straight winless road trip. Baltimore has lost 19 straight road games since John Means’ no-hitter May 5 in Seattle. They are 7-30 overall in that stretch.
Only the Philadelphia A’s, who also lost 22 straight away from home in 1943 and 20 in a row in 1916, have lost more consecutive games as a visitor among AL teams. The former of those streaks entered Thursday tied for the sport’s longest such drought overall before the Arizona Diamondbacks lost to the San Francisco Giants and former Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman, 10-3, for a 23rd straight road defeat to break the modern-era record. Arizona (20-50), which has lost 14 straight games no matter the location, is the only team with a worse record than Baltimore’s 22-46.
Meanwhile, the Orioles’ pursuit of infamy will get a weeklong reprieve. They return to Baltimore to begin a six-game homestand Friday at Camden Yards, where they are 11-21. Means’ no-hitter represented their 11th road victory in their first 17 such games.
“I felt like the guys came ready to play today,” manager Brandon Hyde said Thursday. “They do every day, and I was impressed with the energy in our dugout, especially the first half of the game. I thought our guys were pulling for each other and really trying to break this streak we’re on. And then we gave up 10 runs, so it’s hard to come back from that.
“It’ll be nice to go home.”
Still, there remains a streak to be snapped, with Thursday’s defeat also representing the Orioles’ eighth straight. They quickly found themselves in a 3-0 hole when Jorge López surrendered two first-inning home runs, though they got a run back when Austin Hays answered with a long solo shot on a hanging slider in the top of the second. Cleveland tacked on a fourth run on another homer in the third, marking the first time López had allowed three as an Oriole.
A Maikel Franco home run and the game’s first manufactured run on Trey Mancini’s RBI single got the Orioles within one in the fourth, but Cleveland scored the final six runs to create the game’s final margin.
“We’re very frustrated,” Mancini said. “Nobody likes losing. I’m at the top of the list, I’d say. We’re all super competitive, and it’s really tough, especially when you go 0-and-7 on the road trip, it’s really tough. But there’s no room to wallow at this level, either. You’ve got to get out there the next day and put it behind you and try to win the next game. What’s done is done.”
Added Hyde: “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. This is a tough league, and good teams expect to come in and beat us, and we need to respond and continue to grind.”
Stop and restart
López seemingly managed a nine-pitch shutdown frame after the Orioles’ two-run fourth, following a four-pitch walk with a ground ball that Baltimore’s infield was originally ruled to have converted into an inning-ending double play. He had made it to the dugout as the play underwent a replay review, only to have to return to the mound when Yu Chang was ruled safe at first.
After he threw no warmup pitches, López’s first offering to Ernie Clement became a double, scoring Chang.
“I felt like it’s a routine play and we should’ve had that double play right there and just keep it rolling,” López said. “We had some momentum, feeling good and just one pitch right away, he just makes a really good swing.
“I’ve got to improve. I have to get better.”
All three of the home runs López allowed came from left-handed batters, an area both he and Hyde said he struggled with Thursday. His ERA is 5.95.
He gave way to Cole Sulser with one out in the fifth. An inning later, Sulser left two runners in scoring position for Dillon Tate, who promptly allowed both to score on a two-run single by Chang. Against Rule 5 draft pick Mac Sceroler in the eighth, Chang smacked a two-run home run.
That missed double-play opportunity loomed as the Orioles’ largest defensive miscue of the afternoon, though they ended a five-game streak of making an error. Before the game, Hyde was asked how players who have played the game their whole lives could struggle so much with defensive fundamentals the team has practiced since spring training.
“You have the personnel you have, and you do the best you can [as coaches] with teaching and work and spring training, and it’s up to them to perform,” Hyde said. “We probably throw to bases as much as anybody in the game, and sometimes, the game speeds up on some of our players, so you’ll see a wide miss or not cut the ball like we should have last night. But we have guys on the field that have played in the big leagues for a while now, so to not understand to cut the ball or not understand to run a guy hard on a rundown, that’s reminders that us as coaches — we have advance meetings and show all of our positive and negative plays and continue to teach and learn. But it’s also personnel, too. You do the best you can with what you have.”
Mancini, who was involved in a botched rundown in Wednesday’s loss, said defensive lapses have been the result of collective “pressing” and allowing one mistake to spiral into “others.” Asked directly whether he felt the Orioles have gotten better since 2019, Hyde’s first season as manager, Mancini said the team has “shown flashes” of improvement.
“There’s still some work to do,” he said. “I feel like we’re more talented, but now, it’s about winning these games.”
Around the horn
» After striking out as a pinch-hitter Wednesday, Anthony Santander was back in the lineup, batting fifth and playing right field. Hyde said he was unsure whether the sore left ankle Santander is dealing with, the result of a sprain that cost him a month, will need to be managed throughout the rest of the season.
“I can tell that he’s not fully healthy, but he really wants to play, and I want him to play,” Hyde said.
» The Orioles return home Friday to start a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays, their first time facing that AL East foe this year. Bruce Zimmermann, Dean Kremer and Matt Harvey will serve as their starting pitchers.
Longest road losing streaks in MLB history
22 — 1963 New York Mets, 1943 Philadelphia Athletics, 2021 Arizona Diamondbacks*
20 — 1916 Philadelphia Athletics
19 — 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1945 Philadelphia Athletics, 1933 Cincinnati Reds, 2021 Orioles*
18 — 1949 Washington Senators, 1932 Boston Red Sox, 1920 Philadelphia Athletics, 1914 Cincinnati Reds
* — active streak
Friday, 7:05 p.m.
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