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Tillman implosion paces fourth straight loss; Orioles swept out of Toronto

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Manny Machado's two home runs couldn't overcome the disaster that was Chris Tillman's pitching performance as the Orioles were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles made a late effort tonight, but it was too little, too late. Their arch-nemesis Drew Hutchison continued to stymie them, and by the time he left the game there just wasn’t enough time for them to come back. That, combined with another terrible outing from Chris Tillman, led to a 7-6 loss, a sweep by the Blue Jays, and an all-around bad feeling in Birdland.

It's often said that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. And it's said because it's true. The Orioles looked mostly terrible over the past three games, but if they can turn it around we'll barely remember it in a few months. That of course doesn't make it any easier for those of who watch the games every night, or for our fragile psyches that still haven't fully healed from 1998-2011.

So, the Orioles just got swept out of Toronto in a series where they gave up 24 runs over three games. The pitching was bad and the defense was bad and the offense wasn’t enough. The series started with a shit show that saw the Orioles give up 13 runs and be on the wrong end of a Jose Bautista dog-and-pony show on the field after he got his feelings hurt. It ended with the O's supposed ace giving up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings while the offense started the game 15 up, 15 down (and struggling slugger Chris Davis went 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts). It was as miserable as a single series as you can generally imagine, especially since just over a week ago the Orioles also rolled over to this same team with the only benefit being that we got to watch them do it in the beautiful stadium that is Camden Yards instead of the harsh blue wasteland of Rogers Centre.

So you want the details of tonight's loss? Let's do it!

I already mentioned that Chris Tillman gave up seven runs tonight and couldn't complete the fifth inning. But the worst part of all that was that the first two innings were actually pretty good. Like Ubaldo Jimenez yesterday, he gave us a taste of a good outing before completely imploding. He walked a batter in the first inning but didn't allow a hit, and in the second inning he needed only six pitches to retire the Blue Jays 1-2-3. It felt good! We were all, "Yeah, Tilly!" And then...

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Over the next 2 1/3 innings, Chris Tillman gave up four walks (including back-to-backers to start the fourth inning), a home run, three doubles, and a single. That led to three runs each yielded in both the third and fourth innings, and a solo run in the fifth that came in to score after Tillman. It was just a terrible game for Tillman, who has now given up 16 runs in 19 innings over the course of four starts. That's bad.

To that point, though, it wouldn't have mattered if Tillman had given up just one run, because the offense was doing nothing. Literally. Going into the sixth inning, Jays starter Drew Hutchison (best known for being great against the Orioles and mediocre against other teams) hadn't allowed a baserunner and had only thrown 56 pitches. I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to recap a perfect game thrown by the other team. Thankfully that notion came to an end in the top of the sixth inning courtesy of Manny Machado's second home run of the year, a line drive that just cleared the left field fence Thanks, Manny!

The Orioles added a second run in the seventh inning on a force out from Travis Snider that knocked in Adam Jones, who had doubled to lead off the inning. But two runs wasn't nearly enough. Ultimately Hutchison pitched eight innings with two runs allowed on just 100 pitches.

Liam Hendriks started the ninth inning, and the Orioles finally found a guy they could hit. Singles from Jones and Delmon Young set the table for Snider, who lined an RBI single up the middle with one out. That made it a save situation, so the Jays turned to their closer Miguel Castro with runners on first and second with one out. They were still down by four runs, and Machado did his best to cut into that lead by hitting his second home run of the night. It was a bomb into the second deck in left field. It was gorgeous.

With the bases cleared and the Orioles down by one run, Buck Showalter sent Steve Pearce in to pinch hit. Pearce hit it to left field and it looked like it might fall in, but Danny Valencia made a nice sliding catch for the second out, and Ryan Lavarnway struck out to end the game. Get well soon, Matt Wieters!

If you want some good news, I guess the bullpen was OK tonight. Brad Brach allowed an inherited run to score, but overall he, Tommy Hunter, and Zach Britton pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Brach walked two and Hunter walked one, but we're being positive here!

So, the Orioles got swept. For the 42 of you who guessed in the pre-season contest that the Blue Jays would be the first team to sweep the Orioles, you can at least take solace in that. As for the Orioles, hopefully getting back home will be just what they need. They face the Boston Red Sox tomorrow night at Camden Yards.