On Stranger Things night at Camden Yards perhaps we would have expected something a little out-of-the-ordinary to happen to this Orioles team, but it was more of the same. The O’s offense was unable to muster much of a counter attack while the pitching staff gave up a pair of home runs in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday night.
Aaron Brooks started for the O’s and things went about as well as you could have hoped. After retiring the first two batters of the game, Brooks lost his way a bit in the middle of the Blue Jays order. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled to left field and then scored on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single. Guerrero himself would cross the plate a few batters later following a Justin Smoak walk and a Freddy Galvis base hit. Brooks would gather himself to strike out Brandon Drury and put an end to the rally with the O’s down 2-0.
Vladdy now has 17 RBI over his last 6 games— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 2, 2019
Is that...good? pic.twitter.com/hbs1qNC8I4
The next two innings would be uneventful for Brooks as he faced seven hitters and allowed just one baserunner, a walk to Guerrero. Toronto would get back on the board, however, in the fourth inning with a lead-off home run from Freddy Galvis, the infielder’s 17th long ball of the season.
Brooks returned for the fifth inning and maneuvered around a Bo Bichette double to escape unscathed. O’s manager Brandon Hyde really pushed his luck by bringing Brooks back out for the sixth inning, but removed him after allowing a lead-off walk. Gabriel Ynoa came on in relief and immediately forced Galvis into a double play to close the book on Brooks.
All in all, it was a solid outing for the Orioles starter. Here was his final line: five innings, five hits, three runs, three walks, four strikeouts, one home run. The first inning made it seem like this could have quickly become a disaster, but Brooks settled in and put his team in a position to compete. For this pitching staff, that is going above and beyond expectations at this point.
While Ynoa was able to keep Brooks out of any further trouble, the same could not be said for himself. Following the double play, Ynoa served up a 95 mph fastball right in the middle of the plate, which Drury promptly deposited into the left field bleachers, extending the Blue Jays advantage by one run.
Meanwhile, the Orioles bats were doing a whole lot of nothing. The Blue Jays cavalcade of arms kept the Birds off the scoreboard through the first six innings and did not allow a single runner past second base in that time.
It was Chris Davis, of course, who finally gave Orioles fans something to cheer about. In the seventh inning, with Pedro Severino on base following a lead-off single, Davis smacked a home run onto the flag court in right field, cutting the Blue Jays lead in half. The round-tripper was Davis’s ninth of the season and 250th as a member of the Orioles.
Mychal Givens retired the Blue Jays in order in the eighth inning on just seven pitches. Then it was Paul Fry’s turn in the ninth inning, and he could not do the same. Galvis led off the frame with a single, moved to second on a ground out and then scored on a Derek Fisher knock up the middle. Fry got into a little more trouble with a walk of Bichette. That is when Hyde summoned David Hess from the bullpen. Surprisingly, Hess struck out the one batter he faced, Teoscar Hernandez, to keep the game at 5-2.
The O’s did put up a bit of a fight in the bottom of the ninth inning. Davis worked a one-out walk and was then joined on based by Jonathan Villar, who reached via a two-out walk. That brought Trey Mancini to the plate as the possible tying run. But Mancini was unable to do any damage. He grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat and the game.
There are positives to take away. Brooks was better than expected as the starter. Givens was solid in a one-inning appearance, his preferred usage. Anthony Santander kept hitting, recording two hits and a walk. Davis had a good night at the plate. And Richie Martin recorded two hits as well. The O’s simply didn’t sequence their hits or walks at any point in the game. When that happens, you score only two runs despite having 11 base runners.
Dylan Bundy (5-11, 5.24 ERA) will head to the mound on Saturday as the O’s look to get back on track and give themselves a shot at splitting this series. He will be opposed by lefty Thomas Pannone (2-4, 5.98), who will be making his third straight start after being in the Blue Jays bullpen for most of the season. In his last outing, he tossed six innings and allowed three runs on four hits, one walks and four strikeouts. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.