The Orioles suffered another painful loss tonight, as they were shut down by Aaron Laffey and the Blue Jays bullpen. They again squandered chances, and couldn't provide any run support to starter Joe Saunders, who was pretty good on the mound.
In the first inning of tonight's game it looked like Saunders forgot to sacrifice a goat to the BABIP gods before the game. The Blue Jays ground balled their way to their first run of the night with three singles. He worked a perfect second and third innings before the Jays added another run in the fourth. Rajai Davis hit a slow ground ball to Manny Machado and the speedy Davis found himself with an infield hit. That set the table for Adeiny Hechavarria, who lined a double to left field that knocked Davis in.
The Jays weren't having much success against Saunders, but it was still a boatload more than the success the Orioles were having against Laffey. Because they had none. Keep in mind that Aaron Laffey is not a good pitcher. Not even close. The dude walks 3.7 per nine and barely strikes out more than that. But that didn't stop him from shutting down the severely slumping Orioles offense.
The only hitters to have any success against Laffey were J.J. Hardy, who singled in the first and third innings, and Matt Wieters, who singled in the first and fourth innings. Those two accounted for the only baserunners the Orioles had through the first five innings of the game. Adam Jones added a fifth hit in the sixth inning, after which Laffey was pulled from the game.
Two more runs were added to the Blue Jays' total in the seventh inning as the defense let Saunders down. After a line drive base hit by J.P. Arencibia, Machado misplayed a bunt by Anthony Gose and the Blue Jays had two runners on with no outs. Saunders got the second out on a fly ball, but then Colby Rasmus singled in Arencibia. That was his last batter, and Luis Ayala came on in relief. As he does, he gave up a single to allowed one of his inherited runners to score. Thankfully for the Orioles, Rasmus tried to go to third and was thrown out to end the inning.
With Cy Young candidate Aaron Laffey out of the game, the Orioles tried to rally in both the seventh and ninth innings, but both times were denied. In the seventh, Chris Davis hit a one-out double and Manny Machado worked a walk. Buck sent Jim Thome in to pinch hit for Steve Tolleson (although it's still unclear to me why Thome wasn't DH'ing the whole time), but Jim Jam struck out. Pinch hitter Ryan Flaherty followed him, and he only needed one pitch to ground out to end the inning.
In the ninth inning, the O's tried to rally with two outs. Mark Reynolds was on first base due to an error by noted homophobe Yunel Escobar, and both Machado and Thome worked walks from closer Casey Janssen to load the bases. Flaherty stepped to the plate against a pitcher struggling with his control, representing the tie run. Surely he'll try to work the count a bit -- no, he popped out on the first pitch.
With that the Orioles have lost three of their last four. I'm not in the panic mode that some Camden Chatters are, but things are getting dicey. The offense really needs to get itself going, or it's going to be a short postseason.