Orioles sweep doubleheader against Pirates
BALTIMORE — Scuffling for the past three weeks, the Pirates have tried practically everything to spark their offense.
“We've had an altercation on the field,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We've had extra-inning games, walk-off wins, adversity when a starter leaves in the third inning. We've gone through those things and still haven't gotten major traction.”
They're still searching.
On Thursday, after being rained out the previous two days, the Pirates dropped both ends of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles won the opener 5-1, and the weather again was the culprit. A brief rain delay knocked right-hander Charlie Morton off his game, and the Orioles scored three runs in the fifth inning.
In the second game, Matt Wieters hit a solo homer in the 10th inning to rally the Orioles to a 6-5 victory. The Pirates blew leads of 4-0 and 5-4.
Wieters hit a one-ball pitch from Stolmy Pimentel over the right field wall.
“A fastball, high in the zone,” Pimentel said. “He just went up and got it.”
Losers of 15 of their past 19, the Pirates went 6 for 30 with runners in scoring position in the doubleheader.
“We've got a weird little thing going on right now,” first baseman Ike Davis said. “Hopefully, we can snap out of it soon. As long as we keep giving ourselves opportunities, we'll score some runs.”
In the first inning of Game 1, Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman threw 49 pitches. Ike Davis doubled (snapping an 0-for-21 slide), and Pedro Alvarez singled in the inning. But the damage was done by three walks.
With the bases loaded and one out, Gaby Sanchez battled Tillman for 13 pitches. The at-bat ended with an infield popup, but it took a toll on Tillman's stamina.
Neil Walker laid off a tempting changeup and drew a full-count walk. Davis scored. Starling Marte walked on four pitches. That scored Andrew McCutchen, who also had walked.
Sanchez banged a triple off the right field wall to score McCutchen in the fifth.
In the sixth, an 87 mph slider from Evan Meek glanced off the back of Clint Barmes' batting helmet. Barmes got to his feet and calmly went to first base. He scored on Davis' soft single.
Starter Brandon Cumpton blanked the Orioles for five innings. In the sixth, with two outs and a runner at second, right fielder Travis Snider tried to make a diving catch of Adam Jones' fly ball. The ball popped out of Snider's glove, and Jones got a run-scoring double. Cumpton then yielded Wieters' RBI single and Steve Pearce's double.
“I got behind a couple of guys, and they made me pay,” Cumpton said. “I left a slider up to Jones. Travis did everything in his will to make that play.”
Reliever Bryan Morris gave up J.J. Hardy's game-tying, two-run single.
Marte's single put the Pirates up 5-4 in the seventh. Nick Markakis countered with a solo homer off Morris in the bottom of the inning.
After waiting three days to play the first game of the doubleheader, the Pirates were done in by a 21-minute rain delay.
Jose Tabata started the third inning with a triple to center.. Alvarez bounced a two-out single up the middle to score Tabata.
Morton (0-4) looked sharp over the first four innings. That changed after the rain delay before the start of the fifth inning with the Pirates leading 1-0.
“He lost his rhythm and his angle,” Hurdle said. “It was hard for him to get a ball down. I don't want to put my finger on the rain delay, but it was really two different pitchers.”
The first five Orioles batters reached base in the fifth, and they scored three runs to take control.