Baltimore (44-51) continues its three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at Oriole Park after tying its season-high win streak Monday with a 5-3 victory over Oakland (48-45), its third in a row.
“It’s a good feeling we’ve got in the clubhouse now,” Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora said.
It was an ugly game for Baltimore, which blew a 3-0 lead after Adam Loewen walked six batters and hit two others in five innings. The Orioles rallied in the seventh when Mora and Miguel Tejada each had RBI singles.
Tejada went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and the All-Star shortstop leads the team in batting average (.313), RBIs (67) and runs scored (65).
“We needs those guys to hit like that,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said of Mora and Tejada. “They’re the meat of our lineup. They’ve been coming through lately, and that’s a good sign.”
Baltimore will hand the ball to Ortiz (0-1, 8.68), hoping the struggling right-hander can bounce back from a rough start. Released by the Arizona Diamondbacks last month, Ortiz is making his third start since the Orioles signed him as a free agent June 25.
Ortiz was 0-5 in six starts with Arizona, and so far, the move to the American League hasn’t helped as he’s given up 10 runs and walked six in 9 1-3 innings.
The right-hander lost his most recent outing on July 6 against the Chicago White Sox, giving up seven runs in five innings of an 11-8 loss. Six of those runs came on two home runs he gave up to Jim Thome, including a grand slam.
“Quite honestly, a couple of our starters need to get a little better,” Perlozzo said after the game. “You can’t keep getting down that far in ballgames and expect your team to come back.”
Ortiz, however, was feeling optimistic after the game.
“Except for obviously Jim Thome’s at-bats, gosh, I felt great, I felt a lot better than last time,” he said. “Two pitches to him basically did us in.”
He is 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA in five lifetime appearances against the Athletics. Ortiz hasn’t faced them since 2002, when he was with the San Francisco Giants, but the 32-year-old is confident despite the multitude of factors working against him.
“I think right now I’m at the point where I need to be,” he said Monday.
The Athletics will counter with Esteban Loaiza (4-5, 6.34), who has struggled since his April 30-June 7 stint on the disabled list with a back and shoulder injury. Since his return, he is 3-2 with a 5.48 ERA over seven starts.
Although he pitched one complete game during that stretch, three starts lasted less than six innings, including his most recent one Thursday against the Boston Red Sox. Loaiza did not get the decision after giving up three runs and six hits in five innings while matching a career-high with six walks in Oakland’s 5-4 win.
The right-hander has had good success against the Orioles, although he has not faced them since pitching for the New York Yankees in 2004. Loaiza is 7-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 16 appearances against them, but 6-1 in his last seven decisions.
“Any time a guy’s had some success against a team, that can only help,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “But you still have to make pitches.”