A ninth-inning home run by rookie Richie Martin saved the Orioles from a shutout loss and sent the game to extra innings Wednesday, but there wasn’t enough offense to muster more than that before a two-out single by Delino DeShields gave the Texas Rangers a 2-1 win Wednesday at Globe Life Park.
The home run came on a night when the Orioles threatened to score plenty early, but left 13 men on base, meaning one of their better-pitched games of the season went to waste.
“I was so happy for Richie, to come through off a closer like that and get a slider, I think it was a slider, hit it out of the ballpark to tie the game,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Last night we drove the ball all night long, and tonight, we just had a tough time.”
With three of their starting nine lost to injury in the first six innings Wednesday against the Texas Rangers, the Orioles had no position players left on the bench to execute one of their most frequent in-game maneuvers of the season: pinch-hitting late for Martin.
They'd done it 11 times in Martin's 37 starts so far this season, but absent the chance to do it for a 12th time, Martin smacked his second home run of the season off Rangers closer Shawn Kelley to extend the game with one out in the ninth inning.
For most of the game before that, the Orioles looked the far more likely team to score, but didn't. They got the leadoff man on in five of six innings, and had 11 at-bats with a runner in scoring position. However, their only hit in that situation was a single to left field that pushed a runner from second to third.
The loss drops them to 19-42, with their first series win since April 22-24 against the Chicago White Sox on the line Thursday. They've split the first two games of their last three series before losing the finale.
Texas’ early lead was built quickly. DeShields singled on a grounder that second baseman Jonathan Villar couldn't backhand. DeShields then scored from first on a double by Elvis Andrus in the first inning.
Orioles rookie starter John Means navigated some traffic the rest of the inning, but allowed just three hits the rest of the way before finishing six innings of one-run ball having allowed five hits with four strikeouts and one walk. His ERA is down to 2.67.
“I think it got better as it went on,” Means said. “I think early on, I was battling. I didn't really have my best stuff, and as the game went on, I found my changeup, found my better fastball, and it worked well from there.”
“John Means was fantastic,” Hyde said. “He throws strikes, he works in and out, he changes speeds. They didn’t barrel a whole lot of baseballs. He did a great job.”
Shawn Armstrong and Miguel Castro pitched scoreless innings of relief, and the Orioles were down to their final two outs before Martin's home run.
Richard Bleier added two innings of scoreless relief and Fry did the same for 1 2/3 innings before the walk-off single.
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“I was really happy,” Hyde said. “I thought everybody threw the ball really well and I just like the way we pounded the strike zone. ... We didn’t have many walks. We got a lot of off-the-barrel ground balls, a ton of ground balls to infielders that weren’t hard hit, so everybody that came out of the pen did a fantastic job. The last inning with Paul, two ground balls that get through, a two-strike hit-by-pitch, and there was just bad luck on his part.”