TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 10: Kelly Johnson #2 of the Toronto Blue Jays scores the tying run after Kevin Gregg #63 of the Baltimore Orioles loses the ball during MLB game action September 10, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
So let me get this straight. The Orioles sent out a lineup that would probably get beaten in AAA (where most of the players belong) and they still managed to take a lead into the bottom of the ninth, where Kevin Gregg blew it? Yeah, that sounds about right.
At this point I think it's fair to say that no one has ever hated anyone as much as I hate Kevin Gregg. Don't you even dare try to call me out on hyperbole either, because you know you feel exactly the same way. Kevin Gregg can go suck an egg.
The beginning of this game was a back and forth affair, as neither Henderson Alvarez nor Rick VandenHurk seemed interested in holding on to a lead. The O's scored the first run of the game in the top of the first thanks to three consecutive singles from Nick Markakis, Vladimir Guerrero, and Chris Davis, but the Blue Jays went back on top in the bottom of the inning thanks to a two-run homer from Jose Bautista. Yunel Escobar, who was on base for the home run, got there via walk. Don't do that, Hurk, ok?
The Orioles JV squad tied the game in the second as Kyle Hudson bunted for a base hit, then moved to second when Alvarez threw the ball away. The next batter was Pedro Florimon, who today made his major-league debut. Florimon also bunted and just flew down the line. He was called out, but replay showed him to be safe. Way to steal Pedro's first ML hit, Derryl Cousins! At any rate, the bunt moved Hudson to third and he came in to score on a single by Matt Angle.
Friggin' Brett Lawrie hit another home run off of Orioles pitching in the second inning, putting the Jays back on top. It was the 9th home run of Lawrie's young career and 4th against the Orioles. It's gonna be a lot of fun watching that kid hit against the O's for the next several years, huh?
Alvarez wasn't happy with a lead, though, so he coughed up another run in the top of the third. With Vlad on first, Davis lined a double to center field and Vlad came all the way around to score. Josh Bell followed that with a single but Davis was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
That was the end of the scoring until the eighth inning, although VandenHurk didn't make it out of the third. After Eric Thames flied out to left, Bautista singled and moved to second when Hudson booted the ball. That was enough for Buck Showalter, and since he has approximately 47 relievers in the bullpen, why not? Buck called on Zach Phillips, who has been great for the O's since his call up. Today was no different, as Phillips pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one walk.
In fact, the entire bullpen minus one douchey closer was fantastic today. Phillips was followed by Chris Jakubauskas, Troy Patton, Willie Eyre, and Clay Rapada, and the five pitchers combined for a line of 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Gregg didn't enter the game until there was one out in the ninth, after Rapada struck out David Cooper.
But back to the offense. After the third inning Alvarez calmed down and ultimately pitched seven innings. He didn't allow another run, and in fact only two batters reached base against him after the third inning, one of whom was wiped out on a double play. So the teams entered the eighth inning tied 3-3 as the Blue Jays' bullpen finally entered the game.
Jesse Litsch relieved Alvarez and immediately gave up a double to Robert Andino. Nick Markakis grounded out, but Vlad also doubled to easily score Andino. Success! Sadly Vlad was stranded as both Davis and Bell struck out, but the O's had their first lead since the top of the first inning and only needed six more outs to lock up the game and get their first series win against the Jays this year.
Unfortunately, they only got five of those six outs. After Patton, Eyre, and Rapada combined for a perfect eighth inning and then Rapada retired the first batter of the ninth, the Orioles brought in Kevin Gregg. Gregg needed to get just two outs before allowing two runs, and he got the first immediately by striking out Lawrie. As for the rest, well, it was vintage Kevin Gregg. I've done this before, but I just can't stand to write about him. So here is the play-by-play from MLB.com:
Hate. I haven't seen any post-game comments from Gregg, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the blamed the entire thing on Craig Tatum.