Toronto has always been a house of horrors for the Baltimore Orioles, and last night with Andrew Cashner on the mound was no exception. And it’s not just the Orioles; Toronto seems to have the clutch gene when they play at Rogers Centre, no matter who the opponent is, which is partially what’s prompted the discussion over the years about sign-stealing and the mysterious “man in white” sitting in the outfield. But I digress; Cashner’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 2 K.
The O’s took an early lead in the third inning on a sac fly-RBI by Chris Davis. But that sequence also illustrates my issue with playing small ball. Sure, the O’s got the lead out of that and all – that goes without saying. But as I’ve said many times, if you play for one run that’s often what you’re going to get. Sure enough, Toronto found a way out of that situation. When a team is able to pitch out of a bases-loaded situation and surrender only one run, that’s a win for the defense.
And true to form, Toronto tied the game one inning later on a Morales solo homer. Pillar’s RBI-double in the fifth gave them a 2-1 lead, which was followed up by another homer off the bat of Morales -this one of the three-run variety, giving Toronto a 5-1 lead. Again, Toronto seemingly has that clutch gene when they play at home.
A solo homer off the bat of Renato Nunez and an RBI-double by Caleb Joseph (both in the sixth inning) weren’t enough the save the Orioles, who fell 5-3 in the first of three in Toronto. The Birds fell to 0-8 at Rogers Centre this year with the loss. As I said, it’s been a house of horrors – and has been for some time. Buck Showalter on this team’s struggles at Rogers Centre (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
Yeah, it’s been a lot of close games. It’s a small separator, like today, where we weren’t able to do some of the things we’ve done in the past to get over that hump.
That quote doesn’t exactly address what Showalter probably meant to say regarding the team’s struggles in Toronto. And that’s because some of them are just inexplicable. The O’s just don’t play well there.