Without the twists and turns of the series opener or the big scoring swings from this weekend in Washington, Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field was an unspectacular but deserved eighth straight loss for an Orioles team that’s plummeting to the bottom of the league.
With 15 losses in their past 17 games, the Orioles are a league-worst 17-31 and clinched a series loss against a Twins team that two days ago joined them in sharing the worst record in baseball.
“It’s tough,” center fielder Cedric Mullins said. “We’ve had opportunities to win some ballgames. They just haven’t gone our way.”
After John Means broke their run of short starts Monday, the Orioles got another short one from Dean Kremer on Tuesday. The rookie pitched four innings, and like so many of his contemporaries in the rotation, ensured he wasn’t pitching with the lead once he got it.
The Orioles got a pair of unearned runs on a bases-loaded single by Mullins in the second inning that atoned for him getting picked off second to end the first. Kremer allowed a leadoff home run to Jorge Polanco in the second and went on to walk three and load the bases while allowing two runs to score on wild pitches in a four-run frame.
Kremer allowed one more run in the fourth and left after 94 pitches, with his ERA climbing to 6.87, though manager Brandon Hyde said he was glad his rookie starter finished the fourth.
“I felt like that was a time for him to stay out there and figure out how to get out of this inning,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Fortunately, we cut the runner out at the plate. I think Dean mentally is OK. I think he’s frustrated, and you see frustration out on the mound. ... This is all learning experiences for these guys.”
DJ Stewart hit his second home run in as many games to cut the deficit to 6-4, but Mullins grounded out to first to strand two. Maikel Franco stranded two in the ninth as well. The Orioles left 11 on base and were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Mountcastle exits with hand injury
Rookie left fielder Ryan Mountcastle was hit with a 93-mph sinker from José Berrios that ran inside and struck him on the left hand to open the sixth inning. He stayed in the game to run the bases that inning, but was replaced in the field.
The team announced that X-rays were negative and that Mountcastle has a left hand contusion.
“I don’t think you ever really know until the next day and we see how he responds tomorrow, see how sore it is,” Hyde said. “Got him in kind of a tough spot. Those of us who have been hit in the hand know you can wake up differently. Sometimes you wake up and you’re OK, and sometimes, it’s really sore. We’ll see how it is tomorrow.”
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With Austin Hays “doubtful” with his hamstring tightness for Wednesday afternoon’s game, Mountcastle’s possible absence would give the Orioles just a backup catcher on the bench.
Hyde said after Monday night’s disastrous loss that the Orioles catchers haven’t been doing a good enough job catching and blocking balls, and Kremer’s wild pitches to Pedro Severino won’t change that.
The first was a sailed breaking ball that Severino stood up to try and catch and had go off his glove, and the second was a bouncer that Severino tried to backhand in front of him instead of block.
The road to recovery
Right-hander Dillon Tate, whose activation off the injured list with a hamstring injury is greatly anticipated by Hyde to help bolster the bullpen, had a perfect rehab inning at Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday. At Bowie, right-hander Mike Baumann’s rehab start from his elbow soreness went less well as he threw 33 pitches while recording two outs, allowing four runs on two hits, a walk, an error, a hit batter and a home run.
Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.
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