The Los Angeles Angels arrived at Camden Yards on Friday and picked up where everybody else left off.
They knocked around rookie pitcher David Hess and handed the Orioles their sixth straight loss, a 7-1 defeat before an announced crowd of 24,007.
The Orioles’ 17th loss in their past 21 games dropped their record to 23-58 at the mathematical midpoint of the season.
That 116-loss pace could send the Orioles to one of the worst 162-game records ever, but manager Buck Showalter said there is still an opportunity to make something out of the second half of the season.
“As tough or as bad as things have been for 81 games, they could be just as good the other way around,” Showalter said. “I was talking to Jon [Schoop] about that today. You’ve got 81 games that you struggled. Now you can have 81 games that you go the other way.
“There are some really good people in that locker room and I’d really like to see them get a return, but you can’t will it. You can’t just hope it. … It’s got to be one pitch at a time. You can’t look at the big picture.”
Hess (2-5) made his ninth major league start and seems to be finding life at the major league level increasingly difficult. He allowed six runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings and left with two runs of support or fewer for the seventh time.
Not that anything less than a big offensive performance by the punchless Orioles would have mattered much. It was the fourth straight time Hess allowed five runs or more and didn’t get through the sixth inning, which has taken much of the luster off the strong first impression he made on the club with his first five starts.
He delivered quality starts in four of those games and earned himself a regular place in the starting rotation, but his 2-5 record and 5.94 ERA certainly don’t guarantee a permanent stay there.
“Obviously, that’s not good enough,’’ Hess said. “I didn’t give our team a chance to win.”
This time, he got to face Angels superstar Mike Trout for the first time and will be able to tell his grandchildren about the mammoth home run he allowed with one out in the first inning.
Trout is having another monster year. He entered the game ranked among the top 10 major league hitters in almost every major category except RBIs and moved into second place with his 24th homer of the season.
The Angels have not been doing so well. They had to snap a six-game losing streak Friday night to stay above .500 at 42-41, but Trout said before the game that he thought they were poised to turn things around.
“It’s been tough, but we’ve been banged up,” he said. “You lose the top guys in your rotation and big guys in your lineup, it’s tough and we’re just grinding, going through a rough stretch right now and we’ve just got to turn it around.”
Trout also started the second Angels rally, though not by choice. Hess hit him on the shoulder with a pitch in the third and the Angels went on to score twice in the inning on an RBI single by Andrelton Simmons and a run-scoring fielder’s choice.
Hess settled in for a couple of innings, but the Angels weren’t through with him. Simmons opened the sixth inning with a double and the Orioles ran into some more of the bad luck that has been hounding them for three months.
Left fielder Trey Mancini lost a shallow fly ball off the bat of first baseman Luis Valbuena in the gray evening sky to put runners at second and third with no one out. Hess got Ian Kinsler to ground out without advancing the runners and appeared to get a big break when Manny Machado scooped up a sharp grounder by catcher Martín Maldonado and fired the ball to the plate.
The throw appeared to be in time to get Simmons — at least home plate umpire Adam Hamari thought so — but Angels manager Mike Scioscia appealed the play and it was overturned on review.
That was it for Hess. He gave way to newly recalled rookie Ryan Meisinger, a Dunkirk native who made his major league debut and gave up a run on two hits over 1 2/3 innings. He allowed a home run to Maldonado.
Left-hander Paul Fry, who also was called up Friday, made his major league debut with one out in the eighth inning and got a big ovation for finishing that frame by striking out Kole Calhoun and Trout. He also pitched a scoreless ninth.
Angels starter Felix Peña (1-0) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings before turning the ball over the bullpen, which carried the shutout into the ninth inning. The Orioles finally scored on a leadoff double by Mancini and an RBI single by Adam Jones.