O's struggle to catch A's after Mancini's exit

Bullpen yields 8 runs in 6 frames after Yacabonis' two shutout innings as opener

June 20th, 2019

OAKLAND -- Even by their diminished standards, the Orioles found virtually nothing that was redeeming about their performance against the A’s.

Baltimore extended its losing streak to eight games with an 8-3 setback on Wednesday at the Coliseum, giving the club a Major League-worst 21-53 record.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde cited “elementary mistakes” that doomed his club throughout the series. Fielding errors generated four unearned runs for the A's. Then there were the shortcomings that big leaguers learn to avoid almost automatically, such as the three-run homer Oakland’s Josh Phegley hit in Wednesday’s fifth inning that broke a scoreless tie. The count on Phegley was 0-2, which should have prompted Baltimore left-hander Josh Rogers to throw a “waste” pitch outside the strike zone.

Of course, the differences in skill were evident. Oakland outscored Baltimore by 20 runs (27-7) and outhit the O's by 18 (31-13).

“They hit mistakes -- they hit [low pitches] very well -- and if you leave it center-cut, they don’t miss it,” said Orioles opener Jimmy Yacabonis, who performed his role capably by beginning the game with two shutout innings.

Yacabonis’ effort could have sparked Baltimore.

“We got the game to the sixth inning with our high-leverage [relievers] ready to pitch in a one-run game,” Hyde said.

But instead of putting Oakland on lockdown, the O's watched the A's scamper away.

Baltimore answered Phegley’s homer with a pair of sixth-inning runs, but back-to-back two-out doubles by Mark Canha and Stephen Piscotty pushed Oakland’s lead to 4-2.

Then, as so often happens with losing ballclubs, the Orioles were purely outperformed. The A’s scored four runs in the seventh to win going away. The outburst included second baseman Hanser Alberto’s questionable decision to throw home as Phegley tried to score on Matt Chapman’s grounder, though the infield was playing halfway on the dirt. Khris Davis’ RBI single and Ramon Laureano’s run-scoring double helped finish the job.