The Baltimore Orioles’ current series in Toronto is really a microcosm of the season. The games have all been close, and they’ve all been there for the Birds to win. But each time someone on the other side has wanted it seemingly just a little bit more. Either that, or a mistake here and a mistake there – and before you know it you’ve lost a close ballgame.
Kevin Gausman provided yet another quality start for a team that’s really starting to rack them up. Gausman’s line: 6.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K. It’s fair to say that the Orioles’ rotation isn’t fool’s gold per se; they’re actually a good starting staff. And that’s something that should resonate with fans. If they were able to get offensive output consistently, this could be a good team.
Toronto took a 1-0 lead on a Solarte RBI-single in the third. Hernandez would add an RBI-double in the sixth, doubling their lead. But one inning after that the O’s started to fight back. Chance Sisco smacked an RBI-double to cut the lead in half. And Adam Jones finished the job in a sense and tied it with an RBI-single. That briefly got Gausman off the hook for a loss in a game in which he had pitched well enough to win.
However Toronto sees themselves as world beaters when they play the Orioles. Grichuk led off the last of the seventh with a solo homer, giving them the lead back at 3-2. But even in a losing effort ultimately, the O’s did hang in there and fight back again. They loaded the bases in the eighth, only to score a run on a wild pitch.
I said this during Friday’s game, but that right there should tell the Orioles that it pays to get guys on base. It doesn’t matter how you do it, who it is, or heck even which base at which they start off. Just get guys on base however you can. Because one thing can lead to another, and suddenly the bags are juiced. And you end up scoring a run to tie up a game in the later innings on a play such as a wild pitch.
Part of the issue overall is that the O’s are piecemealing runs together. Granted the bases were loaded with two outs, but that would have been an opportunity to tie the game, take the lead, and then take a more commanding lead. Granted the whole just get on base thing is in essence small ball. However when you load up the bases you want to start hitting for power. Heck, or at least hitting for average. All things being equal, had the O’s gotten more than one run in that sequence the game would have ended much differently.
As I said, if you just get guys on base, quirky things can happen. That’s what Toronto did in the tenth inning by loading the bases. And the worst part? The last runner got on via a hit batsman. That gives you no room for error. And true to form, Maile walked with the bases loaded and two outs, giving Toronto a 4-3 victory in extra innings – on a walk off walk.