This was one of those games that was a meandering journey of defensive disaster. Misplayed balls in the outfield cost the Orioles as many as three runs. For all that, the game ended with the tying run being gunned down at the plate.
Alfredo Simon was not especially good today. He gave up eight hits, seven of which were for extra bases, including two home runs to Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki, both solo shots, two triples and three doubles.
He was handed a 2-0 lead before he even took the mound. J.J. Hardy reached on an infield single, went to third on a Nick Markakis double and then scored on an Adam Jones sacrifice fly. Markakis scored when Vladimir Guerrero doubled. In the bottom half of the inning, Simon surrendered that lead before an out was recorded. He got little help from his defense, as a line drive to left from Josh Willingham that should have been a routine out was misplayed, as Nolan Reimold broke in instead of going back. The ball went over his head and to the wall. That scored two runners, since Simon loaded the bases before that.
Later on, Jones had his own disaster in center field. He was playing in and Brandon Allen knocked a ball to deep center that was over his head. The carom bounced and came back over Jones' head again, a misplay that turned that double into a triple. Going to pick up the ball, Jones dropped it and then kicked it, so Allen scored on the play. What should have been a double turned into an Athletics run thanks to that error. One error may not have been enough on that play. At that point, Oakland had a 5-2 lead. Simon ultimately went 5.1 IP, with six runs charged to him - five earned. The five ER is harsh and should probably be three ER, but still, he wasn't great today. Amazingly, a parade of relievers kept the A's scoreless for the rest of the game.
The O's offense tried to claw back from a 6-3 deficit starting in the top of the 7th. A's starter Brandon McCarthy was still in the game and tiring. Mark Reynolds doubled to lead off and Reimold walked. Josh Bell (who was innocent of all defensive miscues today) singled, scoring Reynolds, and Reimold took third on the play. That left the Orioles with first and third and nobody down. McCarthy's day was done, and on came Oakland reliever Fautino De Los Santos. A shallow fly ball and two strikeouts later and the threat was ended.
There was something resembling life again in the 9th inning. Down to their last out against A's closer Andrew Bailey, Robert Andino doubled and went to third as Hardy reached on an infield single. Blake Davis pinch-ran for Hardy, then Markakis came to the plate and lined a ball to right. The ball fell in and was booted by defensive sub David DeJesus. Andino scored easily and the ghost of the Windmill haunting the third base coaching box decided to send Davis home. By this point, DeJesus had the ball and gunned a throw home, destroying Davis and ending the game.
Of all the ways the Orioles have lost this season, I think the tying run getting thrown out at home to end the game was a new one. I am not sure if Davis ought to have scored on the play or if he ought to have been held. With two outs and the runner going on contact, and seeing how bad DeJesus booted the ball, it felt to me like he should have scored. MASN did not show a real-time replay since it ended the game anyway. I think probably Davis slowed down, not realizing the ball was booted, and Randolph sent him too late. I don't think the mistake was Davis'; the play was behind him and he had no way to know what was going on. Also, DeJesus really made a great throw, though I think even a middling throw or a slightly off-target throw would have gotten Davis. Randolph sending Davis seemed like the mistake there.
Being as this is the Orioles, and Adam Jones was on deck, he probably would have just struck out with the tying run on third even if Davis didn't get sent, so it probably doesn't matter anyway. There can be no joy in our lives. Some higher power has clearly decreed it.
Tomorrow's off day is another one of those that feels like a mercy. The Orioles aren't playing, so at least they can't lose. A series against LAAAOCCAUSAESMWU begins on Friday as the west coast trip continues. Jeremy Guthrie is currently listed as the starter for the O's, though reports today suggest he may be pushed back a day or two due to shoulder stiffness. In any case, Dan Haren is starting for Los Angeles, so the Orioles will not have a favorable starting matchup no matter who they send to the mound.