KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time in a month, the Orioles are under .500. Not many teams who are below the breakeven point with 37 games remaining play in the postseason.
The latest Orioles defeat, 3-2 to the Kansas City Royals before 29,734 at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night, was their sixth straight.
That’s the longest Orioles losing streak since Sept. 19-24, 2013 when they also dropped six.
Their offense simply hasn’t produced with three runs or fewer in seven of the last eight games.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to score more runs,” manager Buck Showalter said.
It was suggested to Showalter that the Orioles seem as if they’re one hit away from winning these games.
“You’d like to think that, but we don’t get that hit,” Showalter said.
Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Chris Davis were 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts. Davis is in an 0-for-16 slump with nine strikeouts.
“We’ve just got to do a better job with the bats. We’ve been real inconsistent,” Showalter said. “It’s takes a little bit of everything. Everybody wants to throw one big circle around one game. It’s a lot of things, a lot of things.”
Miguel Gonzalez continued to pitch unimpressively. After throwing 70 pitches in the first three innings, Gonzalez was taken out after 4 1/3. He allowed three runs on six hits.
Gonzalez (9-10) has lost four straight and hasn’t won since July 25. He’s the first Orioles pitcher to lose 10 or more games since Wei-Yin Chen dropped 11 in 2012.
He doesn’t seem like the same pitcher the Orioles have come to depend on—especially since missing two weeks in June with a groin injury.
"I hope so, yeah. Everything is fine. It's been rough ever since I came back from the disabled list, but sometimes the game's not fair and it's a game of failure,” Gonzalez said.
Kendrys Morales led off the second with a long home run. It was Morales’ 13th home run.
Kansas City (77-48) added two runs in the third. Ben Zobrist walked with one out. Lorenzo Cain singled Zobrist to third.
Eric Hosmer grounded to short. Paul Janish threw to first for the out, and Cain, who stopped in his tracks between first and second, stayed in the rundown long enough to allow Zobrist to score. Cain scored from second on Mike Moustakas’ single, and the Royals led 3-0.
“He’s gotten through some periods before where he’s gotten back into sync, but his command is the thing. He’s not a guy that’s going to overpower you,” Showalter said about Gonzalez.
The Orioles (62-63) scored two runs off Danny Duffy in the fourth with two outs. Matt Wieters walked and lumbered to third on Steve Pearce’s single to left. Jonathan Schoop’s single scored Wieters, and Caleb Joseph drove in Pearce with a single to center. Joseph advanced to third on Cain’s error, but Janish grounded out to first to leave runners at second and third.
Again in the sixth, the Orioles left runners on second and third as Joseph flied out to right against Luke Hochevar. Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis combined to allowed two hits to the Orioles in the final 3 1/3 innings. Davis recorded his 12th save.
“We’ve got to create more opportunities and when we put multiple guys on base multiple innings in a row, you give yourself more room for error there. It’s tough when you get runners on base one or two times in an inning every game that guy up there is creating sawdust in the batter’s box trying to get the guy in. It’s not for a lack of effort. Everybody in this clubhouse is working their tails off trying to make a push here,” Joseph said.
Joseph was pleased with Gonzalez.
“There were a couple of times where it could have broke out and he did a good job of winding it back in. Those are the little things that get guys on track and he came out and he kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win. If a couple balls fall here and there, we’re talking about how this is a really good outing,” Joseph said.
Duffy (7-6) allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
That’s not enough for the Orioles.
“Everybody’s trying to be the guy. That’s not always easy to do,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Mychal Givens has begun his Orioles career with a strikeout in 10 consecutive appearances. Steve Johnson was the last to do that. Only Anthony Telford and Moe Drabowsky, who started their career with 11 straight games with strikeouts, have more. … Wei-Yin Chen (7-6, 3.13) faces Johnny Cueto (2-2, 3.00) on Wednesday night at 8:10 p.m. … Janish had his first major league hit since Sept. 4, 2013.