The Orioles homered four times and had 16 hits, two more than their opponent. They still couldn’t get a win in a high-drama game against the American League’s top team, the Cleveland Guardians.

Baltimore’s skid reached five games Tuesday as the Guardians took game two of the three-game series 10-8. It’s the team’s longest losing streak since May 13-18, 2022, before Adley Rutschman debuted and turned the tide.

“We had rough patches last year and we still won 101 games,” catcher James McCann said. “The moment you start doubting yourself, the minute you start taking a stretch of five games and making it seem like it’s more than that, that’s why it starts to snowfall. ... It’s frustrating. No one likes to lose. But at the same time we can’t freak out about it.”

Starting pitching, a strength of the team for most of the season despite three season-ending injuries, has faltered lately. Cole Irvin continued that negative trend, allowing four earned runs over four innings. The rotation has a 7.26 ERA in its last eight games, averaging less than five innings a game.

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Irvin was throwing thigh-high all game and couldn’t get the ball up or down in the zone. Guardians manager Stephen Vogt caught Irvin a few times when they both played for Oakland, and Irvin speculated that he had probably had good scouting report on him.

“I’ve had a stretch of games here I’m not happy with,” he said. “Just got to minimize damage and got to be better in early innings and start cruising. Should be down in the zone, be up in the zone, not thigh-line. The end of the day, it sucks. I’m not happy with my performance of late. Going to fix it. And definitely my mind’s in the right place right now just trying to get to where I need to be.”

Eight total runs scored while Irvin was on the mound, but four of those were unearned in a pivotal fourth inning. The Orioles entered the frame leading 4-3 thanks to a two-run home run from Gunnar Henderson in the first, RBI single from McCann in the second and RBI double from Jordan Westburg in the third.

It did not take long for that lead to evaporate. Bo Naylor opened the fourth with a single. Then, Gabriel Arias reached on a fielder’s choice. Instead of fielding the dribbler in front of the plate and throwing to first, McCann went to get Naylor out at second base for what would have been the second out of the inning. But the throw was too low and ricocheted into the outfield, resulting in an error that allowed Naylor to advance to third.

Both McCann and manager Brandon Hyde stood behind the decision to throw to second, even though the error extended the inning.

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“It’s easy in hindsight 20/20 to say let’s take the out and have a guy at second, but in the moment the play was second base,” McCann said. “It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, and if I had taken the out at first, maybe we would have gotten out of the inning without giving up any runs. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. At the end of the day, I need to make a better throw.”

Brayan Rocchio and Steven Kwan had RBI singles, bringing in Naylor and Arias, and José Ramírez hit a three-run homer to make it 8-4.

McCann and Colton Cowser hit back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the fourth to put two runs back on the board, while Bryan Baker went on to pitch spotless fifth and six innings and Nick Vespi did the same in the seventh to keep the Orioles in the game.

The bottom of the seventh was the Orioles’ best chance to right the ship.

Henderson and Westburg had base hits to open the inning, and Ryan O’Hearn, pinch-hitting for Austin Hays against right-handed reliever Scott Barlow, walked. The Orioles could not have asked for a better situation: bases loaded, down by two, with no outs.

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Hyde sent out Heston Kjerstad in place of Jorge Mateo, hoping for that pop the No. 20 prospect in baseball possesses. Instead, Kjerstad was called out on strikes for one out.

McCann hit a grounder to third, where Ramírez made a stunning throw to second while he was spinning to the ground. Second baseman Andrés Giménez then sent it to first for what was ruled as an inning-ending double play. After review, O’Hearn was called safe at second, as Giménez did not step on the base.

The Orioles had a second opportunity with two outs and runners on second and third, but it was short-lived. Cowser grounded out to end the inning.

Yennier Cano gave up two runs in the top of the eighth, while Anthony Santander hit a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to make it 10-8 Guardians going into the ninth, where the Orioles couldn’t produce any more runs.

“We had 16 hits and scored eight runs on these guys, we should have won the game,” Hyde said. “We didn’t pitch well enough to win.”