DETROIT — Three runs in three games rarely equals a successful series.
The Orioles found that out the hard way, losing 5-1 on Sunday after falling 4-2 and 3-0 in the first two games of the series, a three-game Tigers sweep. It was the Orioles’ first time being swept since they lost a three-game road series to the New York Yankees April 26-28. Against the Yankees, though, they scored 15 runs — five times more than they scored in Detroit.
“We’re just not scoring many runs,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Tough time getting baserunners. We did the first night here, we had an opportunity with a lot of baserunners late in the game. The last two days, just not much offense.
“We got the Yankees coming in, gotta move on from this one and get ready for tomorrow.”
Baltimore starter Tyler Wells (1-3), who allowed three runs on eight hits, including a home run to Miguel Cabrera, said he doesn’t put extra pressure on himself when the offense isn’t producing many runs.
“For me, not really. I gotta focus on my job,” Wells said. “I believe in our hitters. They’ve done a lot of really good things as of late. The last three games haven’t really told the bigger picture, I guess is a better way to put it. But I have no doubt that they’re going to come around.”
Wells may not have had his best day, but he still made it through another start without walking anyone. It was Wells’ 5th straight start without a walk.
“I wouldn’t really call it a secret,” Wells said. “It’s that mentality. If I’m going to get you to swing at a pitch, I’m going to try to get you to earn it. You’re either going to earn a base hit or I’m just going to try to induce a fly ball, ground ball, strikeout. That’s the easiest way of putting it. I don’t like to give freebies. So it’s just attack, attack, attack.”
Kansas City’s Zack Greinke and New York’s Jordan Montgomery have gone four games without a walk, the only other starters besides Wells with a streak that long.
But against Tigers starter Tarik Skubal (3-2), the Orioles’ offense couldn’t muster much run support for Wells. The Orioles struck out 16 times in the game. Eleven of those came against Skubal, which tied his career high.
“He was commanding his pitches really well, just going after hitters, attacking the hitters,” outfielder Anthony Santander said through interpreter Brandon Quinones. “The first-pitch strikes were a big point of emphasis for him. He just did really well against us.”
Hyde said it wasn’t the first time the Orioles struggled against Skubal.
“I thought Skubal was really good,” Hyde said. “We’ve seen him before. He pitched well against us last year. We had a tough time making contact against him. Give him credit, he threw a really good game.”
Center fielder Cedric Mullins struck out three times against Skubal, and once more in the 8th against Rony García — the first time in Mullins’ career he has struck out four times in a game.
“Tough assignment for him,” Hyde said. “You’re not going to be perfect every night, and Ced’s gonna have bad games. This wasn’t one of his better ones, and he’ll bounce back and be OK.”
The Orioles are missing Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle due to injuries, and shortstop Jorge Mateo left Sunday’s game with an injury, but Santander feels things will get better.
“It’s still early in the season,” he said. “At the end of the day, each one of us individually, we’re still preparing as best we can, doing what we can individually to be ready for the game. We know at the end of the day, those results will start coming in slowly but surely.
“We’re going to keep working hard and we’re going to get through this.”