Orioles lose 3rd straight to Cardinals for 1st sweep in 107 series; John Means leaves with elbow discomfort

The Baltimore Orioles saw a 106-series regular-season streak without being swept come to an end Wednesday and left the loss with concerns about starting pitcher John Means.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Orioles, 5-4, at Busch Stadium. The win secured a three-game sweep for St. Louis after 6-3 and 3-1 wins over Baltimore on Monday and Tuesday. The sweep marked the first of the season for a struggling Cardinals team that improved to 23-26 with the win.

It also ended a remarkable run by the Orioles, who hadn't been swept in 106 consecutive regular-season series, a streak that dated to May 13-15, 2022, when they were swept by the Detroit Tigers. The 106-series sweepless streak is the longest in AL history and tied for the second-longest in MLB history with the New York Giants of 1903-05.

In sweeping the Orioles, the Cardinals protected the franchise's own MLB record. St. Louis went 125 consecutive regular-season series without being swept from 1942-44. Those Cardinals won World Series titles in 1942 and '44.

Baltimore fell to 29-18 with the loss, 2.5 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. Their more immediate concern is the health of Means.

John Means left Wednesday's start after 3 innings with elbow discomfort.  (Jeff Curry/Reuters)
John Means left Wednesday's start after 3 innings with elbow discomfort. (Jeff Curry/Reuters)

Means lasted just three innings and left the game with elbow discomfort. He experienced a noticeable dip in velocity and issued his first two walks of the season despite the truncated outing. Manager Brandon Hyde told reporters after the game that Means was scheduled for testing to determine the severity of a potential injury.

“That was disappointing,” Hyde said, per the Baltimore Sun. “Could tell a little something wasn’t right and was trying to gut through it. But he did feel some elbow soreness, and we’re hoping for the best.”

Means allowed just one hit and no runs in his outing. He didn't return to the fourth inning from a rain delay. Hyde said that the delay didn't impact the decision; he was pulling him regardless. Means had gone to the clubhouse with pitching coach Drew French prior to the delay.

The Sun's Matt Weyrich noted that Means' velocity dipped Wednesday on all of his pitches.

Means, 31, was an All-Star for the Orioles in 2019. He had Tommy John surgery in 2022 and has pitched just eight games since. He returned late in the 2023 season to pitch four games. He was left off the team's playoff roster with elbow soreness and didn't make his first start this season until May 4.

He was off to a sensational start for the World Series hopeful Orioles since his return. In four starts this season, including Wednesday's, Means posted a 2.61 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with 16 strikeouts and two walks. Now he and the Orioles await the results of his testing.