The Baltimore Orioles used Jimmy Yacabonis this afternoon as an opener in the series finale against Toronto. Yacabonis didn’t particularly have the greatest outing as an opener, but he didn’t surrender a run. And he was helped in the same manner that the Birds were helped last night: Toronto got overzealous and took a stupid risk. Yacabonis’ line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K.
Yacabonis loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning. He then induced a grounder to Chris Davis at first, who gunned the runner out at home plate. With the bases still loaded, Smoak flew out to Anthony Santander in left field. That should have given Toronto a 1-0 lead – on a sac fly. However they made an unforced error on the base paths when Guriel decided to tag up and take third. Santander threw him out, and home plate umpire Brian O’Nora ruled that the out was recorded before the runner crossed the plate. That nullified the run.
The teams traded RBI-singles in the last of the first and top of the second. However that missed run by Toronto loomed large. And their mistakes continued. The Orioles got the lead in the last of the second when Jonathan Villar reached on a fielding error, allowing a run to score and giving the O’s a 2-1 lead.
Later in that second inning the O’s got a two-RBI double from Trey Mancini, extending their lead to 4-1. Toronto would get one back in the fifth, however the last of the fifth saw the O’s net two runs on walks. Sisco and Davis both walked with the bases loaded, giving the Birds a 6-2 lead.
Toronto would make things interesting however. They would smack back-to-back homers in the seventh, along with an RBI-double. But the Orioles bullpen preserved the lead, and the Birds closed out a one-run victory.
So if you think back to that base-running blunder by Toronto in the first inning, it made a huge difference. It’s never fair to say all things being the same, however if that game played out the same way with Toronto having scored that run, it would have gone to extra innings. This is two games in a row that the Orioles got fat on Toronto taking dumb risks in games, and losing out.
This isn’t to say that the O’s can only win when their opponent makes mistakes. Because you still have to hold them accountable for their errors. The Orioles are starting to do that, and it’s a good sign.
Tomorrow the Orioles open a three-game set at Camden Yards against the New York Yankees. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the Al’s, and NY is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.