NEW YORK – The Orioles finished their first spin through Boston and New York with a split. That didn’t seem good enough to them since they were absolutely inept offensively in front of a national television audience.
On their first appearance on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball,” in nearly five years, the Orioles were shut out by 38-year-old Hirkoki Kuroda. The Japanese right-hander limited the Orioles to just five singles in their 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees before 34,154 at Yankee Stadium.
Not until there were two outs in the ninth did a single Oriole made his way to second base. All the hits were singles and none drew a walk. The Yankees committed two errors. Eighteen of the Orioles’ 27 outs were on ground balls.
“He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes. Getting ahead. It seemed like every time we had a guy up to the plate, he was getting ahead with strike one. He was throwing his offspeed for strikes, mixing his fastball. He was tough to hit tonight,” Chris Davis said.
Kuroda (2-1) struck out five Orioles, including Davis three times, and in his other at-bat, he grounded back to Kuroda. He didn't walk a batter in his fifth career shutout.
J.J. Hardy, who had one of the hits against him, is now just 2-for-17 against him, and it’s likely the Orioles will get to face him several more times this season.
The Orioles (6-6) split the six-game road trip, winning two of three in Boston and losing two of three in New York. They’ll open a nine-game homestand on Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.
“I think it was a good first road trip. Obviously there were some games we would have liked to have back but to start off in these conditions and come in and split the series on the road I think it’s definitely positive,” Davis said.
In the fifth, Wei-Yin Chen, who allowed just two hits and a walk in the first four innings, allowed three runs.
In both his losses, Chen has allowed three innings in one inning, and gone without virtually any offensive support.
“We are obviously excited about the way he’s been pitching. It’s what we want out of him, go out there and eat up innings and give us a chance to win. But we got to do our part as an offense. It’s tough to win when you don’t score any runs,” Davis said.
Brennan Boesch and Francisco Cervelli led off the fifth with singles. Boesch moved to third on Lyle Overbay’s fly ball, Boesch scored on Jayson Nix’s sacrifice fly. Brett Gardner followed with a two-run home run to right that hit near the top of the foul pole for a 3-0 lead.
Chen (0-2) worked six innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out two. This was the 10th straight regular season start without a win for Chen. His last win came last Aug. 19.
“On the mound I was thinking too much and that caused the big inning," Chen said through his translator.
Chen said that he didn’t have any idea of why his problems are concentrated into an inning.
“Just a home run that's caused the big innings," Chen said.
T.J. McFarland relieved Chen in the seventh and followed up nicely on his Apr. 6 debut when he pitched 3 1/3 one-hit innings. Against the Yankees (6-5), McFarland allowed just a hit and a walk in two innings.
As the Orioles headed home, manager Buck Showalter reflected on the schedule that has had them home for just three quick days.
“We’ve been on a tough two-month plus road trip. After being in Tampa, Boston and New York, we’re looking forward to seeing some friendly faces,” Showalter said.
NOTES: This was the first time the Orioles suffered a complete game shutout since June 18, 2012 when R.A. Dickey threw a one-hitter at them.
-Jake Arrieta (0-0, 7.20) pitches against Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.08) on Tuesday when the Rays come to Oriole Park to begin a three-game series.