The sequence of events that led to the Orioles’ 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night at Camden Yards was bizarre.
Manny Machado, the team’s beloved likely All-Star possibly playing his final games in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards, was the recipient of a chorus of boos from the home crowd after he casually trotted up the first-base line on a double-play ball he might have beaten out if he were quick out of the batter’s box.
Then, Orioles right-hander Darren O’Day hobbled off the mound attempting to field a bunt single in the eighth inning, aggravating a left hamstring problem that prompted him to be unavailable for four days last week and will now likely land him on the disabled list, before the injury-ravaged bullpen lost a one-run lead.
The Orioles (23-55) have spent this season creating new ways to lose, and Tuesday’s defeat counted as a fresh one.
One theme was familiar — the Orioles have scored three or fewer runs in 27 of their past 37 games.
Kevin Gausman did his part, recording another quality start for the Orioles rotation, holding Seattle to one run on six hits over six innings, but his outing was shortened because he had to economize his pitches after a 23-pitch opening frame.
The only run Gausman allowed was on Kyle Seager’s homer to lead off the fourth on a 2-1 splitter that Seager parked over the grounds crew shed in right-center field.
After Seager’s homer, Gausman retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced, including striking out the side in his final inning in the sixth.
“I was kind of sporadic around the zone but I made some good pitches when I needed to,” Gausman said. “Got into some situations, but really just one split that kind of stayed up in the zone, in a count I think he was looking for it. And Seager put a good swing on it.”
The Orioles managed just two runs off Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who struck out 10 and walked one while allowing six hits.
Danny Valencia gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with his leadoff home run in the second inning. The Orioles had the potential to do more damage that inning when Tim Beckham doubled with two outs, but Jonathan Schoop was thrown out at home on the play. Schoop, who slid wide to avoid catcher Mike Zunino’s tag, was initially called safe, but the play was overturned after video review.
The Orioles didn’t threaten again until the sixth, when they had the bases loaded with no outs after the inning started with consecutive singles by Caleb Joseph, Trey Mancini and Adam Jones.
Despite the big-inning potential, the Orioles scored just one run to take a 2-1 lead. The way it occurred made the Camden Yards crowd moan.
“We had some good people up and we got a sharp ground ball right at him,” Showalter said. “Frustrating because that's your one pop at him in a lot of ways. He's a well-kept, I don't know if it's a secret. People in the American League West don't think it's a secret. Paxton is tough. We knew that coming in. He showed why. He was very efficient and he got those big [relief] guys at the end. It makes it tough. Once again, we only scored two runs again. It's tough. One of those [was] a solo home run.”
With the bases loaded, Machado hit a sharp grounder to second and jogged up the first-base line while pivot man Jean Segura double-clutched his throw to first base, but still easily got Machado at first, eliciting a dull chorus of boos for Machado.
“I know he’s wanting to cash in,” Showalter said of Machado. “I haven’t looked at it closely whether he slipped out of the box or what. I’m not going to make an excuse for him until I look at it. Manny plays every day. I know he’s probably frustrated there. Their guy took his time. Usually, when a ball is hit that firmly it’s a pretty easy double play. He just took his time and Manny allowed him to take more time than he normally would. It’ll be addressed.”
Five games into his return from an eight-game hiatus, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has found himself back in trouble. He was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Tuesday and has struck out in his past six official at-bats, not including a hit by pitch Monday.
Darren O’Day left two batters into the eighth inning — leaving runners at the corners with no outs — after hobbling off the mound attempting to field a bunt.
O’Day was quickly in trouble, allowing a leadoff double by Dee Gordon before Segura bunted toward the third-base side. O’Day came off the mound awkwardly and had no play. After testing the injury, he left the game.
O’Day is scheduled to have an MRI on his hamstring Wednesday. He’ll likely head to the disabled list.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” O’Day said. “I was throwing well and helping the team. I had a lead there. If I finish that bunt play we probably get out of that inning tied. But, yeah, it’s very frustrating.”
That left the game to rookie left-hander Tanner Scott, who walked Mitch Haniger, loading the bases, then allowed a two-run single to Seager to give the Mariners a 3-2 lead.
The Orioles bullpen, which already lost left-handed Richard Bleier for the season, could soon be without O’Day a little more than two weeks after getting closer Zach Britton back from an Achilles tear.
“It’s a hard game — it really is,” O’Day said. “It’s a tough schedule, it’s tough on your bodies, so injuries are going to happen. It’s tough that we want to do our jobs and the more of us that are hurt, the harder it makes that. So, some of these young guys are going to step up and take advantage of the opportunities and pitch well.”