The Baltimore Orioles, despite losing five of their last six games, managed to place second in the current American League East division standings, just two games behind the New York Yankees for the lead,. The Orioles (42-39 record) first lost a four-game series against the Texas Rangers, 3-1, in Baltimore, and then lost two straight games to the White Sox in Chicago.
June 29-July 2: Orioles Struggle against Rangers
Baltimore Orioles’ Jimmy Paredes (38) celebrates his home run with Adam Jones, left, during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Game One was a lopsided blowout for Texas as Mitch Moreland led the Rangers with two home runs in an 8-1 victory. Orioles starting pitcher Bud Norris gave up nine hits and five earned runs through the first six innings, and relief pitcher Tommy Hunter wasn’t any better, allowing four hits and three more earned runs through the next two innings. Baltimore had nine hits on offense but managed just one run batted in by Adam Jones.
Game Two was an encore performance for Moreland, who hit two homes runs for the second straight game, this time in an 8-6 win on June 30. Baltimore had more success offensively this time around, as Manny Machado and Chris Davis both went the yard with homers for the Orioles. But the pitching was still awful for the Orioles as starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez allowed eight hits and six runs, and relief pitcher Chaz Roe gave up two more earned runs in the loss for Baltimore.
The O’s were able to dodge the series sweep on July 1 with a 4-2 victory in Game Three. Wei-Yin Chen got the start at pitcher for Baltimore and tossed an excellent game, lasting eight full innings while giving up just four hits and two runs, and closer Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 23rd save of the season. Jimmy Paredes and J.J. Hardy both hit home runs to push the Orioles ahead for the close victory.
Game Four was a scoreless defensive battle for eight full innings, but Texas pulled away with two runs scored in the ninth inning to take a 2-0 victory on July 2.
July 3-4: O’s Lose Two Straight in Chicago
Baltimore faced another defensive slugfest in Game One against the White Sox on July 3. Chicago scored the lone run of the game in a 1-0 victory. The loss for the Orioles negated a strong pitching performance from starter Ubaldo Jiménez, who allowed just six hits and one run through seven innings pitched. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they recorded just five hits on offense.
Baltimore’s losing slump extended to three games after a 3-2 loss in Game Two on July 4. Chris Tillman started at pitcher and surrendered 10 hits and two runs through 4.2 innings pitched. But the Orioles still had a chance to win after a two-run homer from Machado that tied the game in the eighth inning. Chris Davis thought he had the game won on what appeared to be a home run in the ninth inning but Chicago’s Avisail Garcia snatched the ball out of the air just before it could reach the stands.
Next – Baltimore will close out its series with the White Sox on Sunday, then will travel to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a three-game series July 6-8. The Orioles then host the Washington Nationals in a three-game series July 10-12.