O’s drop series, fall 4 games out of first
The Orioles badly needed more to go their wayin the deciding game of their three-game showdown series against the first-place Toronto Blue Jays.
Starter Yovani Gallardo was unable to overcome another soft performance by the club’s inconsistent offense and the Blue Jays prevailed, 5-3, before an announced 16,161 on Wednesday night at Camden Yards and left town with a four-game lead over the third-place Orioles.
The loss dropped the Orioles into a tie with the Detroit Tigers for the second American League wildcard playoff berth.
This series was going to require more than nine runs for the Orioles (72-61) to chip away at the Jays’ AL East advantage — and more than a total of four runs in the two losses. They’ll have a day to regroup before starting September with a home series against the New York Yankees.
The club needs a boost after losing a fifth straight series to a division rival.
Manager Buck Showalter didn’t sugarcoat that, but responded defiantly when asked whether it troubled him that the team has had difficulty competing with its division rivals recently.
“We knew August was going to be tough,” he said. “We did some good things, but not as many as we would have liked. ... There’s a lot of baseball to be played. Anybody that sells us short doesn’t get the essence of our players.”
Gallardo got off to a rocky start, allowing three runs on a pair of homers in the first inning, but he settled down after the Orioles defense bailed him out of a couple of early jams.
Blue Jays starter AaronSanchez allowed one unearned run on five hits and three walks in six innings. The run scored in the fifth inning on a broken-bat bouncer by Manny Machado that was bobbled by third baseman Josh Donaldson for an error. The Orioles went on to load the bases with two outs when Chris Davis drew his third straight walk, but Mark Trumbo flied out to right to end the threat.
Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer in the ninth to account for the rest of the scoring. Schoop’s 21st homerofthe season wasthe Orioles 55th home run of the month, tying the major league record for homers in August. They set a record for home runs in June. Gallardo ambushed: Leadoff hitter Jose Bautista greeted Gallardo with a home run to start the game and catcher Russell Martin hit his 16th homer of the season, which put Toronto ahead 3-0 before the Orioles came to bat. Bautista’s homer was the 28th of his career against the Orioles. Umpire injured: Plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit in the mask by a foul ball in the third inning and had to leave the game after being examined by Orioles head trainer Richie Bancells. Alan Porter took over behind the plate after a lengthy delay.
Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo rubs up a new ball after yielding a solo homer to Jose Bautista. Russell Martin later hit a two-run shot in the first inning.