Orioles 3, Diamondbacks 4: Johnson's blown save erases solid effort by Gonzalez; Goldschmidt hits game tying and game winning home runs

Ralph Freso

The Orioles took a one-run lead into the 9th inning but couldn't close the deal. Paul Goldschmidt hit two home runs in the final three innings to hand the Orioles a series loss.

The Orioles suffered their second straight walk-off loss tonight as slugger Paul Goldschmidt homered in both the 9th and the 11th innings to play the hero for the Diamondbacks. Miguel Gonzalez pitched a solid seven innings and Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy homered, but it turned out not to matter as Jim Johnson blew his 8th save of the season.

Through the first three innings of the game it looked like the Orioles might spend the evening again wasting opportunities. But alas, it turns out that for most of the game they didn't even have opportunities. In the first and the third innings they had base runners who were stranded (poor Miguel Gonzalez tried to bunt in the third and ended up hitting into a double play). Matt Wieters did hit a ball hard in the second inning that looked like it might be a double, but the Diamondbacks were shifting perfectly and second baseman Aaron Hill caught his line drive in shallow right field.

So the D-backs starter Randall Delgado got through the first three innings, but wasn't so lucky in the fourth. After Nick Markakis walked, Delgado fell victim to Chris Davis. Don't feel bad, Randy, it happens to everyone. Davis crushed his 44th home run of the year to right field, one of those shots that you knew was gone as soon as the bat hit the ball. That made the score 2-0 and it went to 3-0 when J.J. Hardy followed with a line drive home run to left field in the fifth inning.

Those were the only runs the Orioles managed, and for the first six innings it looked like it was more than O's starter Miguel Gonzalez would need. He just sailed through, looking great. Through five innings the D-backs had just one base runner on a fourth-inning single by Paul Goldschmidt. Gonzalez looked great. His velocity looked good, he was hitting his spots, it was fun.

Gonzalez ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth inning and was saved by his defense. The pitcher Delgado singled with one out and then A.J. Pollock hit a smash that looked like it'd go down the left field line for a double. But, guys, remember who plays third base? Yes, Manny. Manny's bat may be a little cold at the moment, but his defense doesn't slump. He dove towards the foul line and came up with the ball. Chris Davis made a nice play on the throw at first to get the out. With two outs and a runner on second Gonzalez got Adam Eaton to strike out on a really nice fastball.

After sailing through six innings, Gonzalez hit a wall in the seventh. With one out, Aaron Hill smoked a ball to centerfield. It went over Adam Jones' head and Hill ended up on third with a triple. It was easily the hardest hit ball of the night for the D-backs to that point. Hill came in to score on a ground out, then with two outs Gonzalez missed his spot high with a fastball and Gerardo Parra made him pay with a solo home run. He got the final out but the score was just 3-2.

The Orioles offense went into a slumber after Davis and Hardy homered and didn't come close to scoring another run. Brian Roberts followed Hardy's homer in the fifth with a single, but after that the D-backs pitchers retired twelve batters in a row until Nick Markakis reached on an error to start the ninth inning (and he was wiped out on a double play).

The lack of insurance runs of course meant that closer Jim Johnson had to pitch in a one-run game. Could he hold it? Would it be good JJ or bad JJ? You never know before the inning starts.

Welp. It didn't take long to find out it was the bad JJ. The first hitter to the plate, Goldschmidt, first went to a 3-1 count, then hit a home run to left field. Oops. That tied the game and so it was up to JJ to just get out of the inning without taking the loss. And he did that, but it was painful. He got the first out but then a single and a double put runners on second and third with one out. JJ got the next two outs but went to a three-ball count to both of them and didn't look at all that great.

So...free baseball? Sigh.

With the bullpen totally exhausted or sick or something, Buck Showalter turned to T.J. McFarland in the 10th inning. He walked the first batter he saw and needed a botched bunt and a very nifty double play to get out of it, but get out of it he did. Not that it mattered, because the Orioles bats stayed cold. Hardy singled in the 10th but was stranded, and they went down very quietly in the top of the 11th.

Leading off the bottom of the 11th was Goldschmidt, who had gone deep off of Johnson in the 9th to tie the game. He didn't waste any time against McFarland. He needed just one pitch to end the game, hitting his second home run of the night.

It seemed inevitable from the time that McFarland came into the game that they were going to lose. It was the perfect storm of suck. The bats went cold, the closer went boom, and the mop up guy was expected to go the distance in extra innings.

Tomorrow the Orioles will try to avoid the three-game sweep, which will be a tough task with lefty Patrick Corbin on the mound for the D-backs. See you then!

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