OAKLAND, Calif.—The Orioles are going through one of their worst stretches of the season. They’ve lost three straight to one of baseball’s weaker teams, a team that’s out of the postseason conversation.
They’ve scored three runs in three games, but their pitchers have given up just six, and suddenly, the Orioles are out of first place in the American League East.
What started out as a promising beginning to the longest road trip of the season has turned into a bigger challenge than they imagined.
The Orioles are 2-4 on the 10-game trip, and must win on Thursday to avoid their first four-game sweep in Oakland since Aug. 2004.
Ross Detwiler, who hadn’t won a major league start in more than three years, pitched eight innings, his longest outing in a major league career that began in 2007 with the Nationals.
Detwiler allowed six hits as the Oakland Athletics beat the Orioles 1-0 before 13,481 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Wednesday night.
“It’s been all week. It’s part of the grind. We’ve been squaring balls up and they’ve been going right to the center fielder, right fielder, left fielder, shortstop, third,” Manny Machado said.
“It’s one of those times of the year when we can’t find the breaks. We just have to keep battling, keep fighting, keep playing together and you know, things will turn around.”
Machado is 1-for-11 in this series.
“I mean it’s difficult. Every game counts so it’s difficult going out there and we can’t find a break. We’re squaring balls up and we can’t really do anything about it. We’re having good at bats. We’re doing what we need to do, trying to get guys over, and it’s just not falling for us. So we just have to stay positive, stay together and keep playing as a team and keep doing it. Eventually, things will turn around,” Machado said.
Machado isn’t the only Oriole not hitting. Mark Trumbo is hitless in 11 at-bats and Matt Wieters is just 1-for-10.
“You don’t want to take away anything from Detwiler. He took advantage of the opportunity he got tonight. I like some of the at-bats we had, we just haven’t been able to string much together,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter dropped Chris Davis to sixth, and he had two singles, the only Oriole with multiple hits.
There just wasn’t any support for Yovani Gallardo, who pitched perhaps his best game with the Orioles, and was the hard-luck loser despite allowing just one run on four hits in six innings.
Gallardo (4-4) joined Kevin Gausman and Wade Miley, who each gave up two runs in six innings, but still lost.
“This game is tough. Sometimes you go through stretches like that throughout the year. For us as a team in general, we’re working hard. We’re doing everything we can,” Gallardo said.
“Throughout the year, the guys have been doing a great job, our offense just swinging the bats. It’s just one of those stretches that we’re going through right now, but you can’t worry about today. It’s just one of those things where things didn’t go our way, and you’ve got to come back and keep doing it tomorrow.”
The Orioles (63-50) have fallen out of first place in the AL East because Toronto defeated Tampa Bay.
Adam Jones led off the first with a single against Detwiler. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and tried to score on J.J. Hardy’s double to right. He got a bad jump and was called safe at home, but overturned on replay.
“I don’t think one run would have won the ballgame for us. It’s a bang-bang play. If Adam gets his front foot down instead of his back foot down, he’s probably safe, but run-scoring opportunities haven’t been plentiful lately so you take your shots now and then. Hindsight’s real easy,” Showalter said.
The Orioles got two runners on with two outs in the fourth. Jonathan Schoop and Davis both singled. Wieters flied to right to end the inning.
Oakland took the 1-0 lead in the third on back-to-back doubles by Marcus Semien and Yonder Alonso against Gallardo.
That was enough for Detwiler who was added by Oakland (51-63). He retired the final 12 batters to face him.
After Detwiler departed, John Axford pitched the ninth for his second save of the season.
“We’re going to get stronger from this and we’re going to learn from it too. I think everyone is going to get into their groove. We’re squaring balls up, which is the best part about it. It’s just not landing, so we just have to take that as a positive and take it out tomorrow,” Machado said.
NOTE: Chris Tillman (14-4, 3.50) faces Andrew Triggs (0-0, 5.35) on Thursday afternoon.