Orioles shut out by Tigers in series opener


BALTIMORE — The way Monday night was shaping up, the Orioles may accept that they avoided history, but the way it finished was a brutal blow all the same.

The O’s opened a crucial homestand at Camden Yards against the Tigers with a deflating loss, no-hit by left-hander Tyler Alexander through six innings and then ultimately shut out, 11-0, by a team with the worst scoring offense in the Majors .

“Not a whole lot to say there,” said manager Brandon Hyde when asked about the letdown from a showcase win in Toronto the day prior.

Cheers from the 10,201 on hand came when Ryan Mountcastle broke up Alexander’s no-hitter with a single in the seventh (after drawing a walk in the fourth to end Alexander’s bid for perfection), but the crowd was quiet for most of the night.

With the loss, Baltimore fell to five games back in the AL Wild Card hunt, with time running short.

“Yeah, that’s tough,” said Mountcastle, playing nicked up with a sore left elbow while serving as the designated hitter on Monday. “Obviously, not how you want to start the homestand, but all we can do is get back up and try to keep pushing forward and finish the rest of this homestand good.”

This series was the one the Orioles were supposed to capitalize on, welcoming the Tigers — who are on pace for more than 100 losses — before welcoming the Astros, who are on pace for well over 100 victories.

Instead the Orioles ended the night winless in four tries against the Tigers this season. Their blanking on Monday was their 10th of the campaign, matching their shutout total from a year ago, a season in which they lost 110 games.

“We’ve talked a lot as a group. I just think tonight was just … Nothing clicked right for us,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, we can rebound tomorrow. I think we’ll turn the page on this.”

The O’s collective memory come Tuesday morning will have to be short, especially considering how Monday came and went. Baltimore mustered just three hard-hit balls off Alexander and struck out four times against him, three times looking. The Tigers entered the evening with just one win in 12 games started by Alexander.

“I thought we were a little bit passive early in the game,” Hyde said. “Just didn’t come out very aggressive and had it handed to us.”

But what’s ailed the Orioles during what’s become an 8-9 September thus far? On the whole, they’ve been able to tout health, with no one on the 10- or 15-day injured list. All of the top prospects who are expected to be here, save for perhaps top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez, are here.

Consistency at the most crucial time has escaped them. Starter Tyler Wells has a theory as to why.

“We might just be putting too much pressure on ourselves,” Wells said. “We’re a young club, we got a lot of really good guys, and that’s that. I think that as we continue to go on, hopefully we’ll continue to even each other out and really start to pick each other up and just kind of get back on track.”

Wells was tagged for five runs across three-plus innings — three of the runs coming after he handed DL Hall a bases-loaded situation with no outs — in his third start off the injured list after dealing with a left oblique strain. This is his first postseason stretch run in the Majors, and he, like nearly the entirety of the roster, is learning on the job.

“With the results that I had tonight, I would definitely say that I’m pretty upset about it,” Wells said. “Given our certain circumstances, you would say that you put pressure on yourself. I feel like I let the team down tonight, and especially with what we’re trying to chase, it sucks. But at the same time, we’re just going to keep moving forward and trying to continue to get better.”

Said Mountcastle: “The games mean a lot more. We’re just going to go out there, try to have fun and win games.”

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