O’s drop se­ries, fall 4 games out of first

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Peter Schmuck peter.schmuck@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Sch­muck­S­top

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.

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BALTIMORE SUN

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.

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