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O's offense lacking in opener loss to Tigers

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

DETROIT -- The Orioles did not find their missing offense in Detroit.

Instead, scuffling Baltimore -- which lost all three games it played this weekend in Boston -- continued to search for its big bats and wasted another quality pitching performance in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers. The O's, who bested their win total all of last year in New York by taking three of four in the Bronx, have dropped six of their seven games since.

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DETROIT -- The Orioles did not find their missing offense in Detroit.

Instead, scuffling Baltimore -- which lost all three games it played this weekend in Boston -- continued to search for its big bats and wasted another quality pitching performance in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers. The O's, who bested their win total all of last year in New York by taking three of four in the Bronx, have dropped six of their seven games since.

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"Everybody in that locker room knows that we're not clicking offensively right now, so everybody's trying to push and do it all in one at-bat, one swing," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose club has scored two runs or fewer in eight of its 17 games. "[Hitting coach] Scott [Coolbaugh] and they all talk about it. We talk about it in every advanced meeting and around the cages. It's tough for guys at this level to kind of pull back, kind of like a pitcher, where more is not always better. But it'll happen."

Video: BAL@DET: Machado turns two to end the 6th inning

Their latest loss, which saw righty Andrew Cashner's solid effort go for naught, was a frustrating one, as Baltimore had just three chances with runners in scoring position and stranded seven men on base.

"I think the biggest thing is we just haven't had that break. The breaks have been going the other way," said Cashner, who went six quality innings and took his second loss. "I still believe in all our guys. You look at the track records of all our guys, it's there. We've just got to do better."

Yes, the Michigan weather for the series opener -- which was in the 20s with the wind chill -- was a factor, just as the unseasonable cold the past two weeks around baseball has been. But both sides play in the same conditions. And the O's, who entered the day ranked 29th in baseball in batting average and with a run differential of minus-35 (tied with Texas for worst in the American League), aren't planning on making excuses.

Video: BAL@DET: Jones on Orioles' offensive struggles

"Who cares about the weather? The opponents are playing in it, too," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "We just got to get better. We got to get better, situationally. We had some people on and just couldn't get that hit. But no one likes excuses. We just have to get it done."

Fewer strikeouts would be a good place to start. The Orioles, already the Major League leaders in strikeouts entering the game, were fanned 12 times in the first eight innings. That's half of their outs. They have to find a way to make things happen more, to put the ball in play and work the opposing pitcher early on.

Video: BAL@DET: Orioles turn DP, avoid further damage in 5th

"We need to get bases loaded and a bloop hit or something like that to break it up," Jones said. "We are hitting the ball hard, but right at guys. Let's try to flip the script. There's no panic in this clubhouse. Let's just try to flip the script. But we have to get better. At the end of the day, people only care about results, not effort."

Cashner was strong on both fronts on Tuesday night. The righty went six solid innings, holding Detroit to three runs and turning in his third consecutive quality start. He struck out five and allowed seven hits and three walks over a 93-pitch outing. Two of Cashner's runs came on Victor Martinez's two-run homer -- his first of the season -- in the second inning.

"I felt like one of the things I worked on this offseason was really spinning my breaking ball. And I'd say that my curveball is probably in the best spot I've had my whole career," Cashner said. "You know, I've worked with [Alex] Cobb a lot on throwing my breaking ball. He got me to a spot to where it's like, the tick is there, if that makes sense. I think it's just spinning the baseball out front. I worked on it really hard all offseason, and it's been showing."

The Tigers added a run in the bottom of the fifth on Jeimer Candelario's RBI triple, taking the lead back after Baltimore tied it in the top half of the inning.

Trey Mancini gave the Orioles one back in the third inning, sending Tigers starter Francisco Liriano's 1-1 curveball over the left-field fence. Jones drove in Craig Gentry with a two-out RBI single in the fifth for another run, but that was the last one the O's would push across.

Video: BAL@DET: Mancini rips a line-drive solo homer to left

Detroit added a tack-on run in the eighth on a wild pitch from reliever Mychal Givens.

"We don't hit very well, and they pitched real well. You hate getting some quality pitching performances like we're getting and not being able to cash in on them, but it'll happen," Showalter said. "You've got to trust each other."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The O's got thrown out of a potential rally in the fifth as Manny Machado was caught between second and third base on Jones' RBI. The inning-ending out came when the game was tied at 2, and it quashed any chance of a bigger inning as the O's continue to give up key outs on the bases this season.

Video: BAL@DET: Jones plates Gentry with a single to right

HE SAID IT
"About June. If we are playing this crappy by June, let us know. We got still 140 games to go. Anything can happen. You are going to lose 60, you are going to win 60, the other 42 is where you figure it out." -- Jones, on when people can panic about the Orioles' slow start

UP NEXT
The O's will send Kevin Gausman to the hill on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. ET for the second game in Detroit, pitching against the Tigers' Matthew Boyd. Gausman picked up his first win of 2018 after scattering three runs over six innings while striking out a season-high seven vs. the Blue Jays last Wednesday.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Andrew Cashner, Adam Jones, Trey Mancini