The ball was flying out early and often tonight at Camden Yards and the lead changed hands more than a couple times. The O’s managed to keep things close until the ninth inning when Toronto scratched a crooked four spot onto the scoreboard.
Oriole starter Chandler Shepherd set a quick pace in his first major league start while there was a confounding gaffe when a foul pop-up fell between Rio Ruiz and Chance Sisco in the first. Both guys were tracking it when Sisco stopped suddenly to look at his teammate and Ruiz reached out in vain as the ball fell between the two.
Luckily there was no damage done because of the misplayed ball. Shepherd got through the first inning with a ground out, strikeout and pop-up to second base on 14 pitches. His fastball was topping out at 93 mph in the first inning.
Trey Mancini teed off Toronto starter Ryan Tepera in the bottom of the first, giving the Orioles the lead with a two-run home run to right center. He’s been hot at the plate recently, coming into the game with a .310/.365/.569 slash line in the month of September. That homer — number 34 on the season — was his fourth in the last five games.
The Blue Jays whacked a home run of their own in the second, courtesy of Randal Grichuk. It was an opposite field solo shot that just got over the flag court railing. The Blue Jays’ outfielder has been a thorn in the Orioles’ side all season long, hitting .400/.438/.967 in 30 at-bats against Baltimore at the start of play today.
Toronto’s opener Ryan Tepera lasted a mere six batters; one inning total. Then the Jays brought in their originally scheduled starter, Trent Thornton, to assume the role of bulk guy.
Thornton wound up throwing 83 pitches over the course of five innings.
Back to the Orioles’ pitching side, Shepherd gave up a two-run home run and the lead in the third inning. After Bo Bichette earned his way on base with a walk, Cavan Biggio hit a big fly to center.
Then Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a pop fly to shallow left center with a lot of hang time. Mason Williams ceded to Dwight Smith Jr., who sprinted in from left but was too late to make the catch. Luckily, the O’s threw out Lourdes Gurriel Jr. trying to advance to third on the play, which ended the inning.
Shepherd’s night was over after the fourth inning. He allowed three runs on four hits, including two home runs, with one walk and four strikeouts. His ERA rose from 3.86 to 4.91.
The O’s managed to tie the game in the fifth with Thornton still on the mound for the Jays. Sisco led off the inning with a walk. Then with the infield shifted far to the right on Jonathan Villar, the O’s second baseman laid down a perfect bunt to the left side where no one was playing; and with a 3-2 count no less. Smith Jr. moved up both runners with a sac bunt and Mancini drove in Sisco with a sac fly.
The Orioles then regained the lead In the bottom of the seventh when Sisco led off with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Stevie Wilkerson. Villar, the next batter, walked to put runners on first and second. Then Mancini drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single to left.
From the fifth inning until the eighth, the Orioles got scoreless innings from Richard Bleier, Miguel Castro and Paul Fry. Shawn Armstrong came on to pitch the eighth and let the Jays tie the game. Biggio doubled with one out, stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gurriel Jr.
The very next inning — when Mychal Givens came on to work the ninth — Toronto scored a handful of runs. Givens surrendered a moon shot to the very first batter he faced, Justin Smoak. The Jays’ first baseman pulled a solo home run onto Eutaw Street to give Toronto a 5-4 lead.
The Jays scored two more runs when Biggio hit an RBI triple to complete the cycle. Mason Williams was injured on the play when he collided with the outfield wall and was subsequently removed from the game. With Evan Phillips summoned in relief of Givens at that point, Biggio scored from third on an error at shortstop by Villar. 8-4, Blue Jays.
With one out in the O’s half of the ninth, Villar stroked a solo homer to right to bring his team within three of the Jays. The next two batters were retired in order to end the game.
In the latest installment of the Chris Davis saga, the burly first baseman took an 0-fer in the game. He struck out three times and grounded softly into the shift, leaving three men on base in total.
The guy taking up roughly 29 percent of the Orioles’ payroll came into Tuesday’s matchup with a .172 batting average in 285 at-bats. That average decreased two more points after he went 0-for-4.
On Tuesday night at Camden Yards, there were some ugly plays in the field by Baltimore. There were a handful of home runs too. There were four lead changes in the game between the two teams. But in the end, the Jays got the better of the O’s.