The story of the first part of this game was undoubtedly Chris Tillman. Whatever magic he captured to perform well in July has eluded him as of late. Case in point tonight, he gave up three, count-em three, home runs in just three innings. The first dinger came in just the first inning when the score was already 1-0 Blue Jays, thanks to a leadoff single by speedy Ben Revere and a ringing double by Josh Donaldson. With the MVP hopeful on second base, Jose Bautista hit a no-doubter to increase the lead to 3-0. In the bottom of the third inning, newcomer Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run shot of his own to make it 5-0, with the first run being Bautista, who'd walked to lead off the inning. And in the bottom of the fourth, Tillman surrendered a solo shot to light-hitting defensive specialist Kevin Pillar. That one made it 6-0 and brought Buck out with the hook.
Meanwhile the Orioles were being no-hit by Marco Estrada. You may recall that on June 19th, Estrada no-no'd the Orioles through seven innings. Today he did the same through 4.1 innings, which is not as long but, coming off the Orioles' recent stretch of misery, felt as though it could be as long. At least the Orioles showed some patience; they uncharacteristically worked Estrada for four walks against just four strikeouts. Those numbers usually look more like 0 and 11.
But it remains true that the Orioles did not register a hit until Nolan Reimold, returned to the MLB today as part of the expanded roster, singled with one out in the 5th. Ryan Flaherty then knocked a two-run homer to make the score 6-2. It was hit so hard that Bautista didn't even pretend to give chase; he just turned and watched it go. That felt good to see. But Manny Machado and Gerardo Parra both flew out to kill the mini-rally. At least it was better than the third inning, in which Flaherty and Machado both walked to lead off the inning, but Parra flew out and Adam Jones hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Some more Orioles offense followed in the bottom half of the 6th, with the well-traveled LaTroy Hawkins already in to pitch. Jones skittered a single past a diving Tulowitzki to lead off the inning, but Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop (batting 5th today) both popped out. It looked like another frustrating inning until Jimmy Paredes smacked a double off the left-field wall, high enough that Ben Revere couldn't snag it even with a well-timed leap. Jones scored easily and that made it 6-3, close enough that fans started to hope again.
That hope evaporated during the very next inning with Chaz Roe on the mound. He walked Pillar to lead off the inning. Pillar promptly stole second. Revere, up next, bunted a ball right back to the mound, but it had so much backspin that when it bounced in front of Roe it jumped towards home plate. Revere was safe easily and Pillar moved to third and scored on a Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly. That mde it 7-3 Jays. Bautista then ripped a first-pitch double down the left-field line to score Revere and make it 8-3. He moved to third base on a miscommunication by the pitcher Roe, who whirled and threw to second even though no one was there to receive the throw. It didn't matter. Edwin Encarnacion doubled to score Bautista and make it 9-3. Brad Brach replaced Roe on the mound and got Tulowitzki and Chris Colabello to ground out.
That put the game entirely out of reach. Each team scored one more time; the Blue Jays in the 8th when Ezequiel Carerra hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Revere, and the Orioles in the 9th when Reimold drilled a solo home run against Roberto Osuna.
The loss drops the Orioles to to 65-71, while the Jays move to 78-58. As of this writing the Orioles sit 7 games out of a Wild Card spot, tied with the Mariners and White Sox. It may interest you to know, although it is probably no consolation, that the Orioles (+26) are the only Wild Card team besides the Yankees (+87) to and Athletics (+1) have a positive run differential. Meaning the team has actually outscored its opponents despite not looking great in the W/L columns.
Tomorrow the team sends Wei-Yin Chen to face Michael Pineda in the Bronx.