(Photo credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
The Baltimore Orioles will look to avert matching a season-high, four-game losing streak on Saturday evening when they continue their series against the host Cleveland Guardians.
The Orioles (95-59) dropped a 2-1 decision to the Houston Astros on Wednesday and followed that by losing the first two contests of this four-game series. Friday's 9-8 setback was crushing for Baltimore, which was unable to take advantage of the momentum it gained after it scored twice in the top of the ninth inning.
"That's a tough loss. We didn't pitch well tonight," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "We got beat by so many advantage-count mistakes; that can't be (done)."
Baltimore previously lost four in a row from June 27-July 1 and again on Sept. 12-15.
The Orioles' current skid has prevented the club from gaining breathing room in the American League East. They lead the second-place Tampa Bay Rays by 1 1/2 games.
Anthony Santander collected three hits and three RBIs for Baltimore on Friday. He is a robust 10-for-21 with six extra-base hits (four doubles, one triple, one homer) and nine RBIs in five games against Cleveland this season.
Gunnar Henderson is 22-for-68 with four homers and 11 RBIs in his past 15 games.
Baltimore left-hander John Means (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will make his third start of the season on Saturday.
Means, 30, has turned in a pair of five-inning efforts in his return from undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2022. He rebounded from taking a loss vs. the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 12 to settle for a no-decision six days later despite allowing one run on four hits against the Houston Astros.
"I think it was kind of similar to the last outing," Means said, per MASN. "I had the changeup working; the breaking ball still isn't really where I want it, but grinded through it."
Means owns a 1-2 record with a 4.22 ERA in three career appearances (all starts) against Cleveland.
Friday's late rally allowed the Guardians (74-81) to extend their home winning streak to a season-high six games. They officially were eliminated from postseason contention later in the night after the Minnesota Twins posted an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
"That's one thing that I've always admired about these guys: They will play -- and there's something to be said for that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said on the heels of David Fry's two-run, walkoff double in the ninth inning. "It's not always perfect and I wish our record was better. I appreciate that they keep playing."
The Guardians will turn to right-hander Cal Quantrill (3-6, 5.26) on Saturday.
Quantrill, 28, has pitched well since returning from a two-month absence due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder. He is 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts this month.
Quantrill, however, was blitzed for eight runs on as many hits in 4 1/3 innings in an 8-5 setback in Baltimore on May 30. He is 1-2 with an 8.82 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) vs. the Orioles.
Cleveland's Andres Gimenez is riding a six-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 17 of his past 20 games played.
--Field Level Media