The Streak Ends - Orioles lose to Blue Jays in extra innings 6-to-5
Written by Mike Laws
Spirited seventh-inning comeback forces extras, but O’s fall in eleven
Toronto 6, Orioles 5
OK, Blue Jays, so do you suck at defense, or do you, like, totally pwn? Because it can’t be both, can it? First, in the third, your third baseman throws a ball away, allowing Nate McLouth to advance to third and eventually come in with an unearned run on a fielder’s choice. Then, in the bottom of the tenth, your right fielder, Jose Bautista, loses a ball in the sun, gifting the home team an extra out and flashing everybody back to Monday, when a ninth-inning error kept the inning alive for the eventual Nick Markakis game winner. But then J.J. Hardy comes up with two away and smashes a ball over short, and meanwhile everyone at Camden Yards playing hooky from work and whatnot’s all up in their seats and jumping up and down and hooting and/or hollering, and what’s Rajai Davis do but come up with a perfect dart home to beat Manny Machado by a step and send this one further into the bonus frames. Then in the Oriole eleventh your center fielder, Emilio Bonifacio, who’d started the game at second base (for crying out loud), preserves a one-run lead with a breathtaking diving grab on a dying Ryan Flaherty looper into right-center, good for the second out of the inning, after which the O’s would go quietly into the B-more afternoon, their string of regular-season extra-inning wins suddenly, tragically, ended.
Dangit. On to the bullet points, I guess …
- The way he’s going right now, if the Orioles could bat McLouth nine times in a row, over and over, they probably would. And they’d probably be slaughter-ruling teams. Let’s run it down real quick: McLouth, leading off the Oriole first, falls into an 0-2 hole against Jays starter Brandon Morrow (not to be confused with recent Penguins pickup Brenden Morrow, who was traded from Dallas for Joe Morrow, but I digress) before coming back to work the count full. McLouth then ground-rules a double to deep center, coming around to score the game’s first run courtesy of a two-out Adam Jones two-bagger. So that’s McLouth 1, Toronto 0. In the third, with the Birds now down a pair, McLouth draws a one-out walk, advancing to third when Machado reaches on the error coughed up by his counterpart at third. McLouth then comes in to score when Markakis bounces into what could’ve/should’ve been a double play but for Machado’s characteristically gritty takeout slide. Jays 3, McLouth 2. In the otherwise-uneventful Oriole fifth McLouth reaches on another base-on-balls, following another at-bat where he’d been in a hole, 1-and-2. And with two out and one in in the Oriole seventh — the team now trailing 5-3 — McLouth yet again digs himself out of an 0-2 count, working things even before singling to center to plate Flaherty, whose RBI double had gotten things going in that frame. Nate’s encore? He steals second — easily; no throw — and comes around to score on Machado’s game-tying triple. By this point McLouth has scored three of five Oriole runs and driven in one of the remaining two. Not a bad afternoon for the man they call Mighty Mouse …
- … And even though we all know what eventually happened, with Jim Johnson finally displaying signs of being an actual human being, rather than a sinkerball-chucking superbot (or something) — the Oriole closer melted down in the eleventh, after recording two quick outs, surrendering a pair of singles, plunking Brett Lawrie and eventually walking in the go-ahead run — you have to give credit to the (and I’m going to sound like a broken record here) scrappy, resilient Oriole offense for ever clawing its way back into this one. True, emergency starter Josh Stinson gave the club about as much as anyone rightly expected, even making it deeper into the game (at five and two-thirds innings of work) than many might’ve thought. And happily, Stinson, who’s said to have had command issues throughout his time in the minors, threw precisely 68.4 percent of his pitches for strikes — it’s just that (less happily) the Jays didn’t seem to mind, teeing off on the 25-year-old righty for four homers and five total runs (in other words, all the runs they’d score until getting to Johnson in the eleventh). So hats off, as per usual, to Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day and Troy Patton for holding the masher-heavy Toronto offense in check long enough to let the Birds back in it, even if they couldn’t complete the sweep, when all was said and done.
GLAD THAT’S OVER: The Blue Jays leaving Baltimore means a much-welcome respite from Gary Thorne’s insufferable mangling of Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion’s not-really-all-that-tough-to-pronounce surname. For those of you who want to schedule accordingly, it won’t be until the penultimate week of May that ol’ Gary’ll be busting out his trademark Arka-nacey-own (and slight variations thereof). Meanwhile, for the antidote, tune that radio dial over to Joe Angel, who’s got a real appreciation for the natural mellifluousness of certain players’ names — just listen to him enunciate Emilio Bonifacio and tell me I’m wrong. I mean, it’s like wafting a fine mescal.
Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board