Now that the Orioles have been eliminated from playoff contention, many fans have shifted to rooting for a better draft pick. If you fall into that category, boy oh boy was tonight the game for you.
The Orioles trailed by eight runs before their first base runner, and eventually fell 10-5 in the first of a three game series against Toronto.
Baltimore starter Jorge López faced the minimum in the first inning, but things quickly fell apart after that. Randal Grichuk continued his hot hitting against Baltimore with a solo home run in the second, and then the Jays played some small ball. Toronto scored five more in the inning with three RBI singles and a sacrifice fly.
It was one of those nights where every ball seemed to be just out of a fielder’s reach. Bloops fell in the outfield and grounders snuck past an outstretched glove. A one-out walk and hit-by-pitch did not help López’s cause, but the Blue Jays took advantage with knock after knock.
López fell behind several batters before eventually getting burned. It’s a trend that has followed the young righty, and one that he’ll need to kick if he intends on starting for the Birds next season. Danny Jansen, Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez and Jonathan Villar all drove in runs during the second.
López returned to the mound in the third but left after surrendering three straight singles. His final line read 2.0 innings, 9 hits, 8 runs, 1 BB, 1 K. Needless to say, he took the loss.
Toronto used a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings to extend the lead to double digits. Tom Eshelman replaced López and allowed two runs across four innings. Brandon Kline deliver two scoreless frames in mop-up duty.
Toronto starter Taijuan Walker sent the O’s down in order through the first three innings. DJ Stewart worked a walk in the fourth, and Ryan Mountcastle followed with the team’s first hit of the game.
Ramon Urías put Baltimore on the board with his first Major League home run. Cedric Mullins followed with a similar blast to right field that trimmed the deficit to eight, and José Iglesias led of the sixth inning with his third homer of the season.
Three grand slams would have given Baltimore the lead. Three solo shots? Not so much.
Hanser Alberto drove in a run with a double in the sixth, and scored in the ninth inning on a fielder’s choice by Mullins. Alberto went 2-4, and Mountcastle finished 2-3 with a walk.
Only one team had something to play for tonight, and it seemed to show. Toronto out hit Baltimore 15-8, and looked the part of a playoff team.
No one could blame you if you flipped the channel early on, but there’s only two more opportunities to watch Orioles baseball this season. John Means will take the ball in Buffalo tomorrow after looking the part of a staff ace in his last few starts. Can Baltimore play spoiler in the Jays quest to catch the Yankees, or will the Orioles fall closer to a top five pick?
There’s only one way to find out.