Neither team did much hitting at Camden Yards on Sunday, but the Blue Jays were able to capitalize on a big Baltimore error in the first inning to pave the way to a 3-1 win for Toronto, preventing a series sweep for the home team.
Orioles starter Wade Miley had an outstanding afternoon apart from his opening frame. In the first inning, the southpaw retired the first two batters with just eight pitches. But a Jonathan Schoop error on a Kendrys Morales ground ball up the middle extended the inning. Justin Smoak followed with a single, and Devon Travis drove them both in with his second home run of the season.
Those three runs would be the only blemish on Miley’s otherwise impressive outing. The lefty was far from perfect; his only clean frames came in the second and seventh innings. But he balanced out the base runners and was rarely hit hard. His final line: seven innings, six hits, three runs, none earned, one walk and three strikeouts.
Marco Estrada, the Blue Jays starter, was throwing some nasty stuff all day that the Orioles just couldn’t handle. Over 7.2 innings of his own, he allowed just one run, five hits, a walk and 12 (yes, 12) strikeouts. This is a guy that tops out at 91 mph. As the old-timers like to say, “He just knows how to pitch”.
The only run that the O’s managed to scratch across against the Blue Jays came courtesy of a solo home run from Adam Jones to lead off the fourth inning. It was a 3-2 fastball that Estrada elevated and Jones smacked into the left field seats for his seventh dong of the season.
Even when the relief pitchers came into the game, neither team could get anything going on offense. Alec Asher threw two no-hit, no-run innings for the O’s. Joe Smith hit Manny Machado on the hand and then struck out Chris Davis to end the eighth inning. Then Roberto Osuna earned the save in the ninth despite allowing two hits.
There’s not much else to say about this game. It wrapped up in a brisk two hours and 31 minutes. Both teams looked anemic at the plate, and we are probably all better off if we just pretend like it didn’t happen.
Important to note is that the Orioles made three errors in this game. The only one that hurt them was the mishandled ground ball by Schoop in the first inning. A wayward pickoff throw from Miley in the third inning was negated by that same runner being caught stealing third moments later. And Darwin Barney was stranded in the fifth inning after leading off by reaching on an error from Machado. This is too high of a level to make a trio of errors and expect to still win games.
Machado will have an x-ray done on the hand that was hit by Smith in the eighth inning. At this time, it is viewed as precautionary, but there are a lot of things to break in a hand. Fingers crossed that it’s nothing serious.
The most frustrating part of this game was Chris Davis and his approach at the plate. The slugger struck out three times in this one. While that’s not ideal, it is something that happens a lot in the modern game, especially with power hitters. But the man struck out each time by just watching the third strike go by; twice with runners on base. Swing the bat, Crush. Something good might happen.
But we don’t want to be all negative today. Jones’ home run was the 124th of his career at Camden Yards. That ties Rafael Palmeiro for the most home runs ever hit by one player at the Baltimore ballpark; a record Jones will surely own soon enough. Former Raven and current Philadelphia Eagle Torrey Smith was pretty darn excited about it.
The Birds will look to get back to winning ways on Monday as they welcome the Minnesota Twins (21-17) to Oriole Park. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2, 6.52 ERA) is set to start for the O’s, but we aren’t sure who the Twins will trot out. Their starter has not yet been announced. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.