Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter argues with second base umpire Jeff Nelson after being ejected during the seventh inning of a loss against the Cardinals. Showalter argued the call on a force play at second base. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

After dominating the Cardinals for the first two games of their three-game series, the Baltimore Orioles couldn’t complete the sweep against St. Louis on Sunday, losing 8-3 on a frustrating afternoon.

Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman struggled through a 37-pitch first inning when he allowed two runs, and battled to last five innings.

Gausman allowed 10 base runners — on eight singles and two walks — over five innings. He struck out six, including five over a span of six outs in the second and third innings.

“From the first inning on, it was kind of a battle of keeping my pitch count down,” Gausman said. “. . . That first inning was a rough one. It kind of seemed like wherever they hit the ball we didn’t have a guy there. Sometimes it happens that way.”

“I think that’s more pitches than we threw all year. I like that he didn’t let the game get away from him completely,” Showalter said. “It’s a hot, sticky day after a challenging two games. A lot of borderline pitches. It wasn’t like he imploded or anything.”

Five batters into the game, the Cardinals took 2-0 lead on a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Matt Adams and an RBI single by Jhonny Peralta.

The damage could have been worse, but Orioles center fielder Adam Jones timed Oscar Taveras’s flyball perfectly and threw Adams out at home trying to tag up.

“That definitely got me off the hook,” Gausman said.

The Orioles cut the Cardinals’ lead to one run on two separate occasions, but they went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight base runners. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn held the Orioles to three runs on nine hits over 52 / 3 innings.

Nelson Cruz’s double cut the gap to 2-1 in the first inning, but the Orioles couldn’t take advantage of runners at second and third with one out when Chris Davis and Delmon Young both struck out to end the inning

Davis went 0 for 4 on the afternoon, stranding six base runners, including five in scoring position.

After Jon Jay’s two-out single in the third gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead, the Orioles had the bases loaded with one out in the third and couldn’t score, with Davis striking out and Young flying out to right.

They cut the lead to one in the fifth when Nick Markakis scored on a wild pitch, but Manny Machado was stranded at second when Cruz and Davis harmlessly flied out.

After the Cardinals tacked on another run in the eighth on Matt Carpenter’s RBI ground-rule double off Andrew Miller, Peter Bourjos’s three-run homer off closer Zach Britton broke the game open in the ninth.

— Baltimore Sun

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Box score: Cardinals 8, Orioles 3

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