BALTIMORE -- It is cold and it is early in the season, but the Orioles offense at Camden Yards is still concerning.Consider this: through the Orioles' five games at home this season, they've been no-hit through seven innings twice, and once been held to one hit through eight innings. In
BALTIMORE -- It is cold and it is early in the season, but the Orioles offense at Camden Yards is still concerning.
Consider this: through the Orioles' five games at home this season, they've been no-hit through seven innings twice, and once been held to one hit through eight innings. In Tuesday's 2-1 loss, the O's were unable to secure a hit off of Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez through seven innings, as he worked effectively despite allowing five runners to reach base.
Toronto managed to score the first run of the game on an errant eighth-inning throw, as Justin Smoak trotted home when Anthony Santander -- fielding Yangervis Solarte's single -- missed the cutoff man and threw the ball past catcher Chance Sisco. The ball rolled into the visiting dugout, easily allowing Smoak -- who worked a one-out walk off of reliever Miguel Castro -- to score.
"He got it quick enough where if he catches it … it's a ball you obviously got to get down," manager Buck Showalter said of Santander's throw. "[We've] drilled [it] -- he's heard it a 100 times [from outfield coach Wayne Kirby]. We had a chance to get away with it, if we just catch it."
It was an ugly inning overall for the Orioles, with Castro's wild pitch moving Smoak to second and third baseman Timothy Beckham's fielding error allowing Pearce to reach after Solarte.
The limited offensive output was negated by a sterling performance from starter Andrew Cashner, who went seven scoreless innings while recording six strikeouts to go along with three walks. This all came after Cashner kicked a comebacker from Russell Martin off his ankle in the fourth inning, prompting an injury delay. Cashner shook off the effects and went on to throw 104 pitches while allowing only four hits -- effectively keeping the O's in the game.
"Every night you've got to be sharp" Cashner said. "Doesn't matter what pitcher you're facing. I knew [Sanchez] was going to be good coming out; he's got one of the best sinkers in baseball. You just try to match what he's doing and give us a chance to win."
An eighth-inning rally featured three consecutive hits against Sanchez, spoiling his no-hit bid. Despite having runners on second and third with no outs, the Orioles' rally ended with no further damage -- a frustrating display on the heels of going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in Monday's game.
"Sanchez is a good pitcher. He's really good. But we need to be better offensively. I think everybody knows that," Showalter said of his club, which has scored seven runs total at home this season. "He was good -- but I'm not going to say anything really that's going to take away from the credit that he deserves -- but we're better than that."
Sisco produced the game-tying double during the spurt, but Sanchez was able to induce a Trey Mancini pop-up, followed by an intentional walk to Manny Machado to load the bases. The gamble paid off as the righty got Jonathan Schoop to ground into an inning-ending double play and strand the go-ahead run at third.
"Personally, I'm struggling a little bit. But I'm coming here early to work, and it's going to get better," said Schoop, last year's Most Valuable Oriole. "I hope it's pretty soon. I hope it's tomorrow. But right now, I'll come here, show up, work hard, try to compete and try to win."
Toronto immediately answered back when Curtis Granderson deposited a Darren O'Day 1-2 four-seamer over the visiting scoreboard in right field for a two-out, ninth-inning go-ahead blast.
On the heels of a big weekend series in New York -- in which the Os won three of four -- the offense has sputtered. But Cashner's promising April hints at some stability in the rotation, and hopefully the offense will re-emerge as the weather begins to heat up.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sanchez loses the no-no: With Sanchez at 82 pitches through seven innings, Beckham doubled down the left-field line between Josh Donaldson's legs for the first hit of the game. Santander followed with a single to rule out any controversy over the scoring of Beckham's hit.
Tough luck for Mancini: Mancini tried his best early on to break up the no-no, but Pearce made a running grab in the first inning and Kevin Pillar made a fantastic leaping catch in the fourth. Pillar also played him perfectly in the sixth to snare a gapper.
The Orioles hope to salvage the series with Kevin Gausman on the hill in Wednesday night's finale against Toronto at 7:05 p.m. ET. Gausman went five-plus innings in Friday's crazy 14-inning marathon, improving on a disappointing season debut. He had three strikeouts and improved velocity in the Bronx, and will look to continue that momentum against Toronto.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.