ST. LOUIS — The series was trouble from the start.

The Orioles bats were barely alive in Game 1, compiling just three hits. Game 2 on Tuesday started the same way before severe storms caused a stoppage of play. They picked things up Wednesday morning, but the Orioles could add only one more hit in the loss.

Game 3, a must-win if the team wanted to keep its sweepless streak alive, started off much stronger. The Orioles had a 3-0 lead midway through the fourth as the offense finally seemed to find footing. Then dark clouds rolled in, the wind started to pick up and the rain began to fall.

Another delay.

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This one was an hour and 25 minutes long, and when they came back out the Cardinals flipped the switch, beating the Orioles 5-4 to sweep the series.

The streak, thus, is done at 106 series.

“We’ve been playing really good baseball for two years,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think we are disappointed in how we played this series. We are better than what we showed these three games. We wanted to keep the streak alive, of course, but we made mistakes today that we normally haven’t been making. We have to start putting some at-bats together to get some rallies.”

John Means started the game Wednesday, allowing no runs in three innings before the storm moved in. He would have been done after the third inning regardless, as Means experienced elbow discomfort and was scheduled to undergo tests.

Cole Irvin took over when the game resumed, but it was defense that gave the Cardinals the advantage in the sixth. Dylan Carlson reached on a fielding error by Gunnar Henderson, then Brendan Donovan hit a double into the gap to send in two runs to tie the game.

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Donovan advanced to third as Colton Cowser threw home. Donovan scored as James McCann tried to throw it to third but missed, resulting in an error.

The Orioles were in position for a comeback in the ninth, with Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays on first and third with no outs. Kyle Stowers hit a sacrifice fly to get the Orioles within one, but Mullins was tagged out at first to make it a double play. Henderson grounded out to end the game, and the streak.

“I thought it was gone off the bat,” Hays said. “Ced right there thought he had him beat or might have lost the ball at the last second; he had a good chance to score on that if that ball gets down. I think we put ourself in a good position, Stowers put a good swing on that ball and [Lars] Nootbar made a heck of a play.”

The streak lost some meaning last October, when the Rangers took the first three games in the American League Division Series. This streak, though, was an accomplishment that mirrored the Orioles’ rise.

When the streak started on May 16, 2022, the Orioles were the doormat of the division.

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Now they are the team to beat.

“The tough times we went through, I mean 20-game losing streaks on the road, 20-plus losing streaks overall, those were some really dark days,” Hays said. “To go that long without losing three or four games in a row is just a tip of the cap to how resilient our team has been to not let what happened the day before affect the next game.”

The base of the streak can be traced to the very ballpark where it ended. In May 2022, the Orioles took two of three from a very good Cardinals team. It was in that moment, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said, that he started to see the pieces come together for the first time.

And, although they were swept by the Tigers in the next series, catcher Adley Rutschman made his major league debut in the next homestand. They lost his first game, but the statement was clear: The Orioles were on the way up.

By mid-July, they were at .500, achieving a winning record soon after. A year later, they won the American League East. They are off to a strong start this season again, this series aside, now 29-18 after Wednesday’s loss.

“It’s been a lot of fun to go that many series without having that feeling, losing all the games in a series,” Hays said. “It doesn’t happen very often. ... It’s special to be a part of. I’m glad I was able to experience all of that. Now we’ll start a new streak next series.”

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

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