ARLINGTON, Tex. – At a most critical time of the season, the Orioles’ offense is producing almost nothing. The result was their eighth loss in nine games.
Cole Hamels, in his fourth start since his acquisition by the Texas Rangers at the trading deadline, totally shut down the Orioles.
Hamels allowed two hits in eight innings, none after the third, and struck out 10 as the Rangers beat the Orioles 4-1 on Friday night before 28,337 at Globe Life Park.
The loss puts the Orioles (63-65) 3 ½ games behind the Rangers (66-61) for the second wild card spot.
In the eight losses, the Orioles have scored just 19 runs. Against Hamels, just one.
“We’ve been struggling offensively and that is compounded (by Hamels). That’s the type of guy you get for six prospects,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He was good and we weren’t, so that’s a bad combination. We’re just not stringing much together offensively.
Matt Wieters singled in the first and Paul Janish doubled in the third off Hamels (2-1), and at one point retired 14 consecutive hitters.
The Orioles struck out 14 times on Thursday in Kansas City and 12 more times against Hamels and Shawn Tolleson.
“It’s been a challenge for us most of the year and will continue to be. You live with them if the run production is there, but it hasn’t been there. That’s a tough part of that,” Showalter said.
Kevin Gausman allowed two home runs to take the loss. He allowed four runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
“It’s tough for me to fault many of our pitchers when you are going out there knowing that runs are going to be at a premium. Especially with Hamels out there and you compound that with some of our offensive woes right now,” Showalter said.
Gausman knows it’s harder to pitch now with the offense lagging.
"I kind of knew that going into the night, especially with the guy I was facing. He's been great all year and continues to be. He kind of settled in. I think he was a little sporadic early on, but he definitely settled in and put a pretty good start together,” Gausman said.
“It's tough. We like to win and that's kind of what we've been doing the last couple of years, so to have a skid like this obviously doesn't feel good. But we're one hit away, one pitch away, and I think that's the biggest frustrating thing.”
Making his major league debut, Dariel Alvarez quickly saved a run for the Orioles. With runners at first and third with none out in the second, Elvis Andrus lined to Alvarez in right, who threw a one-hopper to the plate to easily retire Adrian Beltre.
“He's kind of always like that down in Norfolk. He throws guys out left and right. He has probably one of the best outfield arms I've ever seen. Yeah, obviously that was huge. I don't think Beltre looked at the scouting report on the outfielders before the game. Yeah, he's definitely kind of a freak athlete. He swings hard and runs hard. He plays the game the right way. He has a really good arm out there in right,” Gausman said.
Alvarez was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
In the top of the third, the Orioles scored on a one-out double by Janish and walks to Manny Machado, Steve Pearce and Chris Davis. Davis’ bases-loaded walk was his 92nd RBI of the season.
After Davis’ walk, Hamels retired 14 straight until Machado walked with one out in the eighth, but Pearce quickly hit into a double play.
Shin-Soo Choo’s 16th home run off Gausman (2-6) to lead off the fourth, tied the score at 1.
"I thought I threw a pretty good pitch to Choo. I probably should have stayed away from him 3-1 but I tried to go fastball in. He put a good swing on it. It's pretty short down the right field line here. He just kind of got me, I guess,” Choo said.
Prince Fielder followed with a drive to center, but Adam Jones threw Fielder out trying for second.
Chris Gimenez’s one-out homer in the fifth, put Texas ahead 2-1. HHanser Alberto and Delino DeShields each singles, and Alberto scored on Choo’s infield out, and the Rangers led 3-1.
DeShields’ seventh-inning triple scored Will Venable and finished Gausman.
Tolleson allowed a ninth-inning single to Jones, then recorded the final three outs for his 27th save.
The final out was Jonathan Schoop’s fourth strikeout of the game.
“It’s really tough. Trying to go out and win, and things don’t go our way right now,” Schoop said.
COMING UP: Ubaldo Jimenez (9-8, 4.26) faces Martin Perez (1-3, 5.30) on Saturday night.