BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles can’t put a winning streak together, a shortcoming that can be attributed primarily to one glaring weakness: poor starting pitching.
Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three home runs, two by Ryon Healy, and the Orioles lost to the Oakland Athletics 6-4 on Tuesday night to fall another notch in the wild-card chase.
The Athletics used homers by Jed Lowrie and Healy to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and Healy connected in the fifth for a five-run cushion.
Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the sixth for Baltimore and Jonathan Schoop singled in two runs in the eighth to make it 5-4, but Khris Davis blunted the comeback with his 34th home run in the ninth.
The Orioles haven’t won consecutive games since Aug. 5-7. The loss dropped them behind Tampa Bay and they now trail six teams for the second AL wild card.
Baltimore needs to make something happen — quickly.
“We’re going to have to be consistent in our starting pitching to have that type of momentum,” manager Buck Showalter said.
This loss was similar to many that preceded it.
“We created a real hole for ourselves,” Showalter said. “Sometimes we climb out of it, sometimes we don’t.”
Jimenez (5-9) has won only one of his last eight starts. He has surrendered a career-high 29 home runs this season, most on the Baltimore pitching staff.
The last-place A’s long ago fell out of playoff contention, but they’ve been tough on the Orioles. The teams split a four-game series in Oakland earlier this month, and each team has won a game in this series heading into Wednesday’s finale.
Athletics rookie pitcher Paul Blackburn was struck in the wrist with a line drive off the bat of Trey Mancini in the fifth inning and left the game. But the news afterward was encouraging.
“We dodged a bullet. No fracture, no break,” manager Bob Melvin said. “So we’ll call it a hand bruise/wrist and see how he is in the next couple of days.”
Simon Castro (1-1) pitched two innings to earn his first win since Aug. 31, 2015 and Blake Treinen got four outs for his fifth save.
“You have to find a way to win no matter what the situation might be,” Healy said. “The game isn’t always going to go your way.”
That’s certainly been the case for the Orioles recently.
Healy had only two home runs in his previous 41 games after hitting 19 through June 28. ... Davis ended an 0-for-20 skid with his homer.
Athletics: SS Marcus Semien was given the night off after feeling discomfort in his right wrist, which was operated on in April. Melvin said it was “irritated scar tissue.”
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) went 1 for 2 with Triple-A Norfolk in his second rehab game before leaving after six innings. He went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts on Monday.
Athletics: In Wednesday’s series finale, Oakland intends to call up RHP Daniel Gossett (3-6, 5.17 ERA) to replace scheduled starter Sean Manaea.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (12-8, 4.17 ERA) pitches on 10 days’ rest as Showalter seeks to limit the right-hander’s inning count in the latter stages of his second full season.
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