This was how last night was supposed to go. The national nightmare is over. The Orioles have won a game, salvaging the series in Toronto by beating the Blue Jays 2-1 at Rogers Centre on Wednesday. Kevin Gausman was brilliant, and Zach Britton earned the save as the bats did just enough to win.
You want offense? Well, look somewhere else. All three runs of this matchup were scored in the first three innings. From there, the two teams’ bats went silent. Instead of coming through in the clutch, they went limp.
But first, some runs.
Tim Beckham swung at the first pitch of the day from Blue Jays’ starter Marcus Stroman. It was a weak grounder to third baseman, and normally good fielder, Josh Donaldson, but the three-time all-star air mailed the throw to give the O’s a lead-off base runner.
It looked like it wouldn’t matter as Stroman then struck out Manny Machado and forced Jonathan Schoop to ground out to Donaldson, advancing Beckham to second base. But Adam Jones then doubled to left field, scoring Beckham. And Trey Mancini followed with a triple off the wall in center field to score Jones. Just like that, it was a 2-0 lead. A Mark Trumbo strikeout ended the threat, of course.
The Blues made their way onto the scoreboard in the third inning. Teoscar Hernandez led off the frame with a double off of the right field fence. A Ryan Goins sacrifice bunt moved Hernandez to third base ahead of Richard Urena. The Blue Jays rookie hit a shallow fly ball to left field, but Trey Mancini couldn’t get there in time. He made a feeble dive attempt, when a real left fielder likely would have been have made the catch mid-jog. Hernandez scored on the play, but the Orioles starter, Gausman, got out of trouble with a Justin Smoak double play two batters later.
After that, it was nothing but blown opportunities for both sides. That’s not to say the pitching wasn’t good. It was solid. But if this were two non-bad teams, it would have surely been a higher scoring affair.
In the top of the fourth inning, Mancini led off with a double and was then followed by back-to-back walks from Trumbo and Chris Davis. Huzzah! The bases are loaded with no outs. Surely, the O’s could score at least once, right? Wrong. Seth Smith struck out on three pitches, and Caleb Joseph grounded into a double play.
It was a similar story in the bottom of the inning for Toronto. Kendrys Morales singled with one out, and made it all the way to third base on a Kevin Pillar single to left field because Mancini bobbled the ball away. Pillar also advanced to second on that same error. But a Russell Martin ground out and Hernandez fly out ended the inning with no damage done.
There wasn’t much offense again until the top of the sixth inning. A one-out Trumbo single and Davis walk gave Smith more baserunners to work with. But again, he failed to come through, grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Another good opportunity popped up for the Birds in the eighth inning. Jones led off with a double, but wouldn’t make it home. The O’s captain got to third base on a fly out to right field, but was left stranded
Pitching with a purpose
The hurlers did their job for both teams tonight. Stroman battled through some tough situations and what looked to be some right arm trouble to allow just those two first-inning runs on six six hits, three walks and seven strikeouts over six innings.
Gausman followed up Dylan Bundy’s impressive performance one night prior with one of his own. Over seven innings, the hard-throwing righty allowed just one run on six hits, one walk and six strikeouts. Second-half Gausman is the best Gausman.
In the bullpens, Carlos Ramirez, Dominic Leone, Matt Dermody and Ryan Tepera combined for three shutout innings for Toronto. Darren O’Day had a perfect, two-strikeout eighth inning, and then Zach Britton rebounded to get the save in the ninth by getting Jose Bautista to ground out and forcing a Pillar double play ball.
The best is yet to come?
The O’s now make their way to the Bronx to begin a big four-game set with the New York Yankees on Thursday. Wade Miley (8-12, 4.96 ERA) gets the ball for Baltimore. He will be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka (11-11, 4.82 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 and it will be broadcast on MLB Network outside of the local area.
Who was the Most Birdland Play for September 13th?
This poll is closed
Kevin Gausman (win, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 SO)
Trey Mancini (2-for-4, double, triple, 1 RBI)
Adam Jones (2-for-4, 1 RBI, run scored)
Darren O’Day (1.0 IP, 2 SO, hold)
Zach Britton (1.0 IP, save, bounced back from BS on Wednesday)