(May 14-15): Jim Johnson’s Streak Ends as Baltimore Swept by Padres
The Baltimore Orioles fell further in the American League East after enduring a four-game losing funk, the longest such streak for the team this year.

Baltimore’s woes began May 14 when they opened a two-game series against the San Diego Padres at Camden Yards. Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman gave his team a strong seven-inning performance in the first game, rare among Orioles’ starters this season. Unfortunately for Baltimore, closer Jim Johnson offered a rare performance of his own, blowing his first save in 36 tries as he gave up two game-deciding runs in the ninth inning to hand the O’s a 3-2 loss.

The second game against San Diego went even worse for Baltimore. The Orioles gave up 17 hits to the Padres, the most they’ve allowed to any team in a single game this season. Starting pitcher Freddy Garcia lasted less than four innings before he was pulled and the bullpen didn’t do any better, with relief pitchers T.J. McFarland, Tommy Hunter and Pedro Strop each giving up a run. The Orioles managed to record 11 hits themselves, but squandered most of their scoring chances as they lost, 8-4, getting swept in a series for the first time this season.

(May 17-18): Orioles Lose Two More to Rays Starter Jason Hammel didn’t help the Orioles shake their losing funk in the opening game of a series against the Tampa Rays, as he gave up seven runs in less than five innings. Hammel gave up 10 hits and the bullpen surrendered seven more, as the Orioles saw an opponent rack up 17 hits for the second straight game. Baltimore recorded 13 hits on offense and recorded 10 runs but still lost, 12-10.

Baltimore hoped to end their losing slump in the second game, as star closer Jim Johnson appeared on the mound for the first time since ending his franchise record 35 saves streak on May 14. Johnson entered the ninth inning with a two run lead, but recorded only one out before giving up five runs as the Orioles lost their fourth straight game, 10-6. Johnson gave up a solo home run to Rays’ Kelly Johnson on a 3-1 pitch, then surrended four more runs before being pulled from the game.

Orioles Player of the Week:
Despite the team’s terrible week of play, the most consistent player for the Orioles was Machado. He batted nearly .340 for the week, recording six hits, three runs and two RBIs.

The Orioles (23-19 overall) will head north to take on the New York Yankees in a three-game series on May 20-22, and then will travel to Toronto to face the Blue Jays in a four-game series on May 23-26.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor