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Orioles can't overcome early hole in 4-2 loss to Mariners


Orioles can't overcome early hole in 4-2 loss to Mariners

BALTIMORE --- The Orioles keep saying it’s early, and while there’s plenty of time for the offense to consistently hit, they’re not doing it now.

For the ninth time in their last 14 games, the Orioles were held to three runs or less on Wednesday night, and despite some late offense, lost 4-2 to the Seattle Mariners before 21,710 at Oriole Park.

The Orioles (17-20) have lost eight of those nine games, and if they had scored five runs, would have won four of those games—enough to turn their season around.

“We haven’t played consistent baseball all year. It’s still early. We’re only [three] games out of it. We haven’t been playing good baseball all year and we’re still right here,” Steve Pearce said.

Fortunately for the Orioles, no one in the American League East is running away with the division. They’re in fourth place, three games behind the Yankees and Rays. All five AL East teams lost on Wednesday night.

“We have a chance to turn this thing around. We’re not pressing yet. We’re only a quarter of the way through the season,” Pearce said.

The Orioles continue to pitch creditably. Wei-Yin Chen wasn’t as sharp as he had been recently, allowing four runs in seven innings, but while he was in the game, the Orioles had just four hits, two in the first six.

“I think tonight I made too many mistakes on my control, so being able to get through seven innings [is] the only thing I can say is good,” Chen said through his translator.

The Orioles couldn’t handle Roenis Elias (1-1), who gave up two-out singles to Adam Jones in the first and Manny Machado in the third.

Elias retired 10 straight before he allowed a leadoff single to Jones in the seventh. Delmon Young hit into a double play. Chris Davis, who was hitless in 15 at-bats, doubled, but Steve Pearce fouled out.

After getting two outs in the eight, Rey Navarro and Machado singled, and Carson Smith allowed a single to right by Jimmy Paredes, but he made a foolish choice. Navarro scored and Paredes tried to run to second while Nelson Cruz threw the ball to second.

Paredes was out on a close play, and though manager Buck Showalter challenged the call, it stood.

“Jimmy lets it rip. There's a question whether he's out or safe. It's one of those... We looked at three of them he was safe and one of them he was out, and that's enough for them I'm sure to not overturn what was called on the field. If they had called him safe they probably wouldn't have overturned that, either,” Showalter said.

“I know what the end game is. I get it. But Jimmy thought he could make it and it's still questionable whether he did or didn't. But I know what went up on the scoreboard. It's kind of who he is. He saw something and went for it and it didn't work out."

Fernando Rodney allowed singles to Jones and Young to start the ninth, but Davis and Pearce were called out looking.

“I know it's close. It's one of those 50-50 calls. That one went against Chris and it went against us at second base. If you knew they were going to call that pitch a strike you'd have swung at it,” Showalter said.

Pearce was 0-for-4 and got the ball in play just once. The strikeout by Rodney hurt.

“He threw some really good changeups and he’s a tough guy to hit. He fooled me a little bit but we still had a chance to win it. I didn’t get the job done, but it was only the second out of the inning. We had one more chance to get it done,” Pearce said.

J.J. Hardy dropped a single to center scoring Jones, and Travis Snider, pinch hitting grounded to second, and Rodney had his 10th save for Seattle (18-21).

Justin Ruggiano doubled with one out in the second and scored on Mike Zunino’s double for Seattle’s first run.

In the fourth, Cruz led off with a double, and with two outs, Ruggiano hit a long home run to left-center, his second of the season.

Logan Morrison singled to lead off the seventh. He scored on Chris Taylor’s one-out triple to right.

Elias allowed one run on six hits and didn’t walk any.

“He was working quick, throwing strikes getting ahead early. He kept us all off balance tonight,” Pearce said. “Certainly we have to do a better job tomorrow we still have a chance to win this series.”

NOTES: Tyler Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth in his major league debut. … J.A. Happ (3-1, 2.98) faces Chris Tillman (2-5, 6.34) on Thursday at 12:35 p.m.

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."