BALTIMORE -- Andrew Cashner has had a difficult start to his Orioles career. The 31-year-old right-hander, who signed as a free agent during the early days of spring training, has one win in nine starts, and none in his last seven, even though he's pitched well enough to win at least some of them.
Cashner took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies May 16, but he allowed three runs in that inning, and the Orioles had just four hits in a 4-1 loss.
Game time was moved up by 30 minutes to 12:05 p.m. to try and avoid rain. The night before, the Orioles waited more than three hours before postponing their game with the Phillies and decided against trying to play a doubleheader, scheduling the makeup for July 12.
There was intermittent rain, but the game wasn't interrupted. Nor was Cashner's losing streak. He's now 1-5 with a 4.83 ERA. Since his only win April 5, he has lost four and pitched to three no-decisions.
"It can't go this bad the whole season," Cashner said. "You can get frustrated and get down, but you just have to trust the process and keep going."
In his previous start, Cashner gave up three runs on six hits in six innings against Kansas City and left with the score tied. The Orioles went on to win, 5-3. It was only the second game in nine Cashner starts they've won.
"Cash pitched well," manager Buck Showalter said. "We just didn't score."
Center fielder Adam Jones hit a home run in the first inning, and that was the extent of the Orioles' scoring. While they scored 58 runs in the first seven games of the homestand, they were stymied by Philadelphia right-hander Nick Pivetta, who gave up two hits and struck out 11 in seven innings.
With the wet conditions and the uncertainty due to weather, the Orioles looked as sluggish as they did during their six-game West Coast road trip.
"I don't know about intensity. It's more when a starting pitcher is on top of his game, like Pivetta was, it can look that way," Showalter said. "... I thought our guys were ready to play. Got off to a good start. But their guy settled in and pitched real well -- and regardless of what the weather is doing and what have you, it's remarkable to me when I watch pitchers at this level perform the way both those guys did with a wet ball and a wet mound, it's pretty impressive."
Cashner has never been known as a pitcher who allows many home runs. Last season, he gave up 15 in 166.2 innings with the Texas Rangers. Philadelphia second baseman Cesar Hernandez's sixth-inning homer was the 11th Cashner has allowed in 50.1 innings this year. He's surrendered seven of them at home, and is 0-4 in six starts at Oriole Park.
"This park is really small, so part of my game is to pitch up in the zone," Cashner said. "You're picking and choosing your spots."
While Cashner doesn't have the results he'd like, his attitude has won over the team.
"You keep pitching like that, it will even out," Showalter said. "... He has pitched well, for the most part. That was a game you'd like to have out of your starting pitcher when it's over. It just gets magnified because we didn't score any runs."
Jones loves playing behind him.
"I don't really care about the win-loss record," Jones said. "That's something he can't control. I like the fact that he goes after hitters. He's not afraid. He pumps everybody up on the bench. He's into the game, if he's starting or not. The energy that he brings on a daily basis is contagious. That's something that I love to see, especially out of the starters. Get everybody up even when it's not their turn to pitch."
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