BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' weekend series against the Oakland Athletics served as a barometer for a club that has had its share of ups and downs during the season.
But the Orioles unraveled in more ways than one in their sobering 11-1 thumping Sunday by an Athletics team with the best record in the American League.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was chased from the game with one out in the third inning after allowing a grand slam to Oakland left fielder Brandon Moss. It was Jimenez's shortest outing in his 13 starts with the Orioles.
Jimenez issued five walks, tying a season-high, and three of those base runners scored.
The Orioles (31-30) issued a season-high 11 walks in the game, the most they've allowed in nearly six years, since an 8-5 win against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 20, 2008.
Long after the game was in hand, third baseman Manny Machado took exception to a pair of close pitches from left-hander Fernando Abad. He let go of his bat after swinging through the second pitch, and it landed near third base, prompting both dugouts and bullpens to clear.
No punches were thrown, but both Machado and Abad were ejected from the game.
It was the second time this series that Machado has been involved in a confrontation. He went face to face with Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson during Friday's game after Donaldson tagged Machado while he was running to third base.
After Abad's first pitch went inside on Machado, the third baseman stared down the relief pitcher. On the next pitch, Machado swung late on a ball low and inside and his bat flung toward third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
Catcher Stephen Vogt and Machado then exchanged words as the dugouts and bullpens emptied.
Earlier in the game, Jimenez opened the third inning by issuing three consecutive walks to the seventh, eighth and ninth hitters in the Athletics lineup.
Jaso then took a 1-2 pitch from Jimenez to center field that ricocheted off an object near the fence and back into the field of play. The ball initially was ruled a grand slam, giving the Athletics a 4-0 lead.
After a review initiated by crew chief Angel Hernandez, the call was reversed, two runs were taken off the scoreboard, Jaso was given a double and runner Kyle Blanks was placed at third.
Jimenez's control problems continued as he walked Nick Punto to load the bases again. Donaldson grounded to third, where Machado prevented another run by throwing home to get the force out.
But Moss crushed a first-pitch splitter well over the center-field fence for a grand slam, his 16th home run of the season.
Jimenez left the game to some boos, having allowed a season-high six runs and two hits.
He had allowed just two total runs in his past two starts before Sunday, but he has been wildly inconsistent in his time with the Orioles, who signed him to a four-year, $50 million deal in February. After Sunday's performance, Jimenez has allowed five or more runs in three of his last five starts, and he hasn't gone past the fifth inning in any of those three outings.
Sunday's outing marked Jimenez's shortest start since April 16, 2013 against the Boston Red Sox. He lasted just 12/3 innings in that game, allowing seven runs, two hits and five walks.
It didn't get much better after Jimenez's exit as the Orioles were forced to use both of their long-relievers--right-hander Brad Brach and left-hander T.J. McFarland--which sets the bullpen back with the club facing 13 games against AL East opponents in the next 14 days.
Oakland left-hander Scott Kazmir held the Orioles to four hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking two. The Orioles managed just six hits in the game and just one extra-base hit, Steve Pearce's fifth-inning double.
(c)2014 The Baltimore Sun
Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services