NEW YORK (AP) — Silent for so long, the Baltimore Orioles at least made things interesting at the end.
Dillon Gee extended the Mets’ shutout streak to 29 innings before Baltimore broke through late. No matter, the Orioles fell short 4-3 on a steamy Wednesday night and got swept in the three-game series.
After R.A. Dickey pitched a one-hitter Monday night and Johan Santana teamed with a trio of relievers Tuesday night, Gee (5-5) nearly handed the Orioles their third straight shutout.
“Our starting pitching presented itself pretty well the last three games. It’s just tough to match up with the starts they got,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
Gee had been nicked only by pitcher Brian Matusz’s single — his first big league hit — until Nick Johnson opened the eighth with an infield single and Wilson Betemit followed with a second-deck home run.
The Orioles threatened to go ahead later in the inning. But with two on and two outs, Chris Davis hit a fly ball off Bobby Parnell that left fielder Scott Hairston caught against the wall.
In the ninth, Baltimore got a pair of one-out singles. With two outs, pinch hitter Mark Reynolds walked and so did Steve Pearce, forcing home a run. Brian Roberts then grounded out to finish it.
As for the late flurry, “I hope we can build on that,” Showalter said.
Frank Francisco completed the combined six-hitter for his 17th save in 20 chances.
Gee struck out nine and walked two in 7 1-3 innings. No one on the Orioles had ever faced Gee, and it showed — he retired 13 straight batters, starting with J.J. Hardy’s lineout with runners on first and second to end the third.
Gee also doubled and scored a run.
It was 94 degrees at gametime. There were heat advisories posted in the city all day, and the warm weather may have contributed to a record nine home runs flying out of the new Yankee Stadium in Atlanta’s 10-5 win earlier in the afternoon.
But the ball wasn’t carrying at Citi Field — at least not for the Orioles most of the game.
Baltimore’s shutout streak reached 28 innings, its longest since a 29-inning drought in 2003, STATS LLC said. The Orioles totaled just 12 hits in the series while striking out 29 times. They dropped their sixth in a row to the Mets, dating to a 2010 series at Camden Yards.
Matusz (5-8) struggled again in interleague play, dropping to 0-7 in AL vs. NL matchups. He gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
“The pitch count got up and it was just one of those situations, playing in the NL where Buck’s got to play smart,” he said. “For me, I’d like to be able to go deeper in the games and that’s what’s frustrating today. I made some good pitches when I needed to, but I just need to get better.”
Matusz did get his first hit, however, lining a two-out single up the middle in the third after starting his career 0 for 7 at the plate.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Mike Nickeas got an RBI single on a sinking liner that Gold Glove center fielder Adam Jones reached in the right-center alley with a headlong dive, only to have the ball bounce out of his mitt.
Hairston hit an RBI double in the fifth and another run scored on Ike Davis’ forceout, with Vinny Rottino making a hard takeout slide into second.
Gee and David Wright doubled in the sixth for a 4-0 lead.
NOTES: Chris Davis is in an 0-for-20 rut. … The Orioles have been shut out three straight times just once, in 1957. … Orioles OF Nick Markakis will get a checkup Friday in Baltimore on his broken right wrist. He had surgery June 1 and Showalter said it’s unlikely Markakis will play before July. … The Orioles are off Thursday and host Washington this weekend. RHP Jason Hammel starts the opener vs. Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.