In a long season, there are ebbs and flows, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Monday afternoon, and a 15-game road losing streak is a flow the Orioles aren’t enjoying.
That’s why he was out of the dugout arguing what proved to be a pivotal call two batters into the game and eventually was ejected for it: The margins are fine, and this one swung another in his opponents’ favor.
Cleveland scored three times in a first inning that featured a replay-changed hit-by-pitch call on what would have been a third strike, and that big early inning helped Cleveland dump the Orioles, 4-3, Monday for a club-record 16th straight road loss at Progressive Field.
Of course, the actual difference in the game was their own doing. Cleveland’s fourth run came in a sixth inning that began with an error on first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, putting leadoff man César Hernández on, a passed ball against Pedro Severino moving him to second, and a dropped foul ball by second baseman Stevie Wilkerson, extending the at-bat that ended in a run-scoring double by José Ramírez.
“The bottom line is we just didn’t play defense tonight, which, you’ve got to play defense in the big leagues to win,” Hyde said. “We made numerous plays that hurt us — or, didn’t make the plays.”
Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer settled in well after that 27-pitch first inning and went on to face the minimum from the second through the fifth when the Orioles unraveled in the sixth.
He struck out two in 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits with a pair of strikeouts in his return from a second minor league assignment of the season. His ERA is down to 6.65. Kremer was encouraged by how he didn’t walk a batter, and by how he bounced back after the first inning. Hyde said he thought he was “great.”
“I was really encouraged by his start — no walks,” Hyde said. “We misplayed a ball in the first and then don’t help him out there in that first inning and to be able to settle down after all that stuff happened in the first inning to go four scoreless into the sixth inning, throwing strikes. I thought he had a good curveball tonight, like the changeup and like the way he threw strikes. He gave us a good opportunity to win.”
Hyde said the whole pitching staff was “fantastic” as Tyler Wells, who took over for the Ramírez at-bat, rebounded to strike out two in 1 2/3 innings without being charged with a run, continuing his scoreless June before a 1-2-3 eighth from Tanner Scott.
The Orioles scored twice on groundouts by DJ Stewart and Freddy Galvis in the fourth inning but managed just four hits all night, though they threatened late. Stewart walked to open the seventh and scored on a pinch-hit single by Maikel Franco, and Cedric Mullins walked to lead off the eighth and stole two bases to put himself on third, but Stewart struck out to leave him there.
Heave-ho for Hyde
Kremer allowed a leadoff single but thought he had a strikeout to the second batter of the game when replay ruled he hit Amed Rosario on what would have been a swinging third strike, and Hyde came out to argue before he was ejected by first base umpire Nestor Ceja.
“I was arguing the check swing, so understand that the ball hit him in the finger, but I wanted to see if they would ask for help,” Hyde said. “The first base umpire said he didn’t go on the swing and threw me out for telling him he missed it.”
Monday was Hyde’s sixth ejection as a manager and second of the season. His first came April 8 against the Boston Red Sox.
Kremer said seeing Hyde do that “shows he cares a lot.
“It shows that he wants us to get out of this stretch as much as we do,” Kremer said. “It shows he’s back behind our team.”
The Orioles don’t have anyone ranking high in the first round of fan voting for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, which will have a two-phase voting system this year.
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The top three players at each position and the top nine outfielders will advance to a second vote, which will determine the starter. First baseman Trey Mancini is fifth with 5% of the vote at that position, while outfielder Cedric Mullins is 10th at his spot.