Do you hate pitchers’ duels? Then today's game was for you! Neither Tyler Wilson nor Marcus Stroman were on the top of their game tonight, and the result was a high-scoring slugfest that ended in another comeback victory for the Orioles. They topped the Jays 6-5 to take the first game of their four-game series.
For Wilson, it was another poor start that has become a disturbing trend for the young pitcher. His ERA, which was 2.93 after his game on May 11th, has gone up every start since then. It now sits at 4.73 after he gave up five runs in 5.2 innings.
The O's got on the board in the top of the first, but it could have been more if not for a boneheaded mistake by Manny Machado. Machado stood on second base with two outs after he had doubled in Adam Jones when Mark Trumbo hit a long fly ball to right field.
Machado should have been off to the races the second that the ball left the bat, but it appeared that he didn’t realize there were two outs. Instead of running he held up in case he had to go back to the base, and by the time he realized it made for a close call at the plate where he was thrown out (confirmed via replay).
I hoped that wouldn’t come back to haunt them, and given the way the game went it would have been nice to have that run (and who knows what else, since Trumbo was standing on second with Wieters on deck).
The 1-0 lead lasted only a few minutes. The Blue Jays hit Wilson hard from the moment he started throwing the ball. He gave up three hits in the innning, including doubles by Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders that were just feet short of being home runs. Combine those with a sacrifice fly from Edwin Encarnacion and when the smoke cleared Toronto had a 3-1 lead.
The lead was 4-1 when the Orioles started to fight back in the third inning. Just as they had in the first, it felt like they could have done more. They loaded the bases with no outs but could only muster two runs. One came in a sacrifice fly by Chris Davis, the other on force out by Matt Wieters.
Wilson continued to struggle, giving up another run in the fourth. He walked Bautista ahead of Josh Donaldson, who with two outs hit a hard fly ball to right field. It looked like Trumbo was going to race in and make the catch, but the ball sailed right past his glove and to the wall. Bautista scored easily and Donaldon ended up on third base.
The one and only 1-2-3 inning for Wilson came in the fifth, and with two outs and a runner on first he in the sixth he was relieved by Dylan Bundy. Bundy inherited just a one-run deficit as Pedro Alvarez, whose bat finally seems to be heating up, hit an opposite field homer in the sixth.
In the seventh inning Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons decided to match up with Chris Davis by bringing in lefty Aaron Loup. This particular matchup did not work as Davis crushed a line drive to center field that just cleared the wall for a game-tying home run. Yes!
Despite getting into a bit of trouble in the seventh inning, Bundy did a great job holding the Blue Jays as he pitched through the eighth inning. It was just what the Orioles needed to stage their comeback.
Jays’ closer Robert Osuna came in for the ninth inning to face Hyun Soo Kim, Machado, and Davis in the 5-5 game. Kim had a great at bat, driving the ball into the left-center gap for a leadoff double. Kim was replaced at second by the speedier Joey Rickard, and Machado and Davis decided to play some small ball.
Machado didn’t have a great at bat, but he grounded to shortstop with Rickard running on the pitch to get to third. Davis then hit a fly ball to Kevin Pillar in center field. It was shallow enough that it seemed fortunate that Rickard was on third instead of Kim, but the throw home by Pillar was so bad that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Rickard crossed the plate and the Orioles had a 6-5 lead!
You know what happened next. Zach Britton came in and owned the three batters he faced. Ezequiel Carrera, who had replaced an injured Bautista, grounded out. Then Donaldson hit a ball that chopped high off of home plate and landed a few feet in front of him. He remained in the batter’s box as Matt Wieters pounced on the ball and threw him out.
Donaldson looked thoroughly confused, but eventually wandered back to the dugout. That just left Edwin Encarnacion, another dangerous batter. He hit a sharp ball to third base that Ryan Flaherty made a nice diving stop on before throwing to first to end the game.
O’s win! They are now a season-high 13 games over .500 and have won five straight games. Tomorrow they’ll go for six with Kevin Gausman on the mound vs. Marco Estrada.