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O's 5, Blue Jays 13: Burned by Big Bats

The Jays stomped all over Freddy Garcia en route to their 11th straight win (and the O's 3rd straight loss).


Yeah, this one was ugly. Freddy Garcia absolutely imploded, giving up 7 earned runs in just 2.1 innings of work. His counterpart Josh Johnson wasn't excellent but he was effective enough, holding the O's to just four runs in 6 innings pitched.

Looking back, the first inning provided a hint of what was to come: both the O's and the Jays stranded the bases loaded. In the top of the first, Nate McLouth singled to lead off the game. Manny Machado struck out, but Nick Markakis hit a ground rule double to move McLouth to third. Ground rule doubles with runners on first base always suck, but in this case we had Adam Jones and Chris Davis coming up. Unfortunately, Jones did what Jones does (swinging strikeout on a fastball low and away) and Davis was intentionally walked. It was all up to Matt Wieters, but he popped out on the fourth pitch as O's fans wailed and gnashed our teeth in frustration.

Garcia looked okay to start the bottom half. He retired the first two batters on groundouts, although Jose Bautista's came on the 11th pitch of the at-bat, suggesting Garcia wasn't fooling anybody. Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind reached on back-to-back singles; Colby Rasmus then walked to load the bases. J.P. Arencibia came to bat and got a Homer Simpson-style RBI when Garcia hit him with a pitch. Macier Izturis then battled Garcia for a nine-pitch plate appearance that ended on a questionable called third strike. Garcia had gotten out of the jam, but his high pitch count (32) indicated the floodgates would soon open.

The trickle became a steady rain in the second. After an uneventful top half for the O's, Emilio Bonifacio reached on a bunt that popped over Garcia's head and just died in the grass. Munenori Kawasaki sacrified him to second, and Melky Cabrera brought him home on a sac fly to make it 2-0 Jays. With two outs, Bautista worked a seven-pitch walk and scored when Encarnacion smacked a two-run shot. 4-0 Jays. Power threat Adam Lind grounded out to end the inning. If the Orioles batters were worried, they didn't show it, as they went up to the plate hacking. In the top of the third Machado, Markakis, and Jones saw just eight pitches combined.

The steady rain became a thunderstorm in the bottom of the third. The Jays sent nine men to the plate, and five of them scored to chase Freddy Garcia after just 2.1 IP. Rasmus started ineffectively enough with a flyout to McLouth in left. But then Arencibia singled. He scored when Izturis doubled: 5-0 Jays. Izturis himself scored when Bonifactio doubled: 6-0 Jays. That brought out Showalter and long man T.J. McFarland with him, but the Jays weren't done yet. Kawasaki grounded out, but Cabrera singled in Bonifacio to make it 7-0 Jays. McFarland walked Bautista to put runners on first and second; both scored when Encarnacion doubled. 9-0 Jays. Lind then bounced out to end it, but not before making McFarland throw 10 pitches.

How did the O's respond? Davis, Wieters, and J.J. Hardy went 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth on 13 pitches. Luckily, the Jays also went 1-2-3 in the bottom half for the O's first clean inning of the game. The fifth inning passed similarly, with neither side getting a baserunner.

In the top of the 6th, the Orioles finally got to Johnson. Machado led off with a double and made it 9-1 on Markakis's own double. Jones managed to get Markakis to third on a weak groundout; Nick scored when Bonifacio misplayed a hard shot by Davis. 9-2 Jays. With a runner on first, Wieters flew out and Hardy K'd. The Jays went down 1-2-3 again in the bottom half.

The O's finally pushed Johnson from the game in the top of the 7th. Chris Dickerson led off with a single and scored when Ryan Flaherty homered to right field. 9-4 O's. That sent Johnson to the showers; Aaron Loup came in to get McLouth but gave up a single to Machado. What smidgen of hope us fans had was driven into the ground when Markakis hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

From the 3rd inning through the 7th, McFarland had been doing well at his mop-up duty, but he can only do so much. Rasmus led off the bottom of the 7th with a home run to make it 10-4 Jays. Arencibia then reached first base when Machado gloved a hard-hit ball but held onto it. He thought the ball was foul, so he put it in his pocket (so to speak). Unfortunately for him (and for the O's), third-base umpire Paul Nauert had clearly signaled fair, so Arencibia was safe at first. Izturis then doubled him to third to put two runners in scoring position. Buck drew the infield in, which seemed to do the trick when both Bonifacio and Kawasaki grounded out without anybody scoring.

With two outs, McFarland at 61 pitches, and a right-handed batter coming up in Rajai Davis (who'd replaced Cabrera), Buck called in Pedro Strop to put the fire out. Instead Strop lit a match, hitting Davis to load the bases. Up came Bautista, one of the last people you'd ever want at the plate with the bases loaded, even with two out. He showed us why when he slammed a bases-clearing double to make it 13-4 Jays.

That's not all she wrote, but it's close. After Encarnacion grounded out, the O's and the Jays traded a scoreless 8th inning. In the top of the 9th. Flaherty homered (again!) to make it 13-5, but that was all the O's could muster. It was Flaherty's 10th career home run and his very first multi-homer game.

The loss was the O's third in a row; meanwhile, the Jays pushed their winning streak to an astounding 11 games. The O's dropped to 42-32 (2.5 GB, with today's games left to play) while Toronto moved up to three games behind the O's at 38-36. Tomorrow the O's return home to face the Indians; the Jays try to improve their AL East position when they face Tampa Bay.