Ejected, de­jected

Davis, Showal­ter tossed as Jays frus­trate Ori­oles, widen wild-card lead

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Ed­uardo A. Encina

TORONTO — The un­pre­dictable Ori­oles came to Rogers Cen­tre with the chance to re­claim the first Amer­i­can League wild-card spot with a strong show­ing against the di­vi­sion-ri­val Toronto Blue Jays.

Now, af­ter a 5-1 loss to Toronto on Tues­day night that ex­posed all the Ori­oles’ flaws — their first-in­ning pitch­ing strug­gles and their re­cent in­abil­ity to ex­e­cute of­fen­sively with run­ners on base — their op­por­tu­ni­ties are dis­ap­pear­ing by the day.

A frus­trat­ing night in Toronto, where the Ori­oles have lost six of eight games this sea­son, ended with man­ager Buck Showal­ter and first base­man Chris Davis ejected from the game by plate um­pire Will Lit­tle.

The Ori­oles have scored three runs or AL WILD CARD STAND­INGS Toronto 87-70 Ori­oles 85-72 Detroit 84-73 Seat­tle* 83-73 Houston* 82-75 +2 — 1 11⁄ 3 fewer in nine of their past 10 games.

Just last week, the Ori­oles went into their four-game home se­ries with the Bos­ton Red Sox with the chance to make a run at the AL East lead, but lost all four games as their hopes of a di­vi­sion ti­tle dis­ap­peared quickly.

Now they’re play­ing for the wild-card game, and they en­tered their se­ries opener in Toronto one game be­hind the Blue Jays for the top wild-card spot. But af­ter Tues­day’s loss, the Ori­oles can at best leave Toronto tied with the Jays for the top wild-card spot head­ing into the fi­nal se­ries of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

And with five games left, the chase for the sec­ond wild-card spot is again get­ting crowded quickly.

Right-han­der Kevin Gaus­man fell be­hind 2-0 two bat­ters into the first in­ning af­ter al­low­ing a two-run homer to reign­ing AL Most Valu­able Player Josh Don­ald­son, a blast that came af­ter Gaus­man walked lead­off hit­ter Eze­quiel Car­rera. Ten of the 27 homers Gaus­man has al­lowed this sea­son have come in the first in­ning.

Gaus­man al­lowed mul­ti­ple homers for the sec­ond straight start, yield­ing an

op­po­site-field solo homer to the light-hit­ting Car­rera in the third.

The Ori­oles (85-72), who scored their only run on Mark Trumbo’s sin­gle in the third, stranded nine base run­ners, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple run­ners in three in­nings.

Left fielder Michael Bourn stranded four run­ners, two in scor­ing po­si­tion. The Ori­oles were 1-for-8 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion.

Af­ter post­ing a 0.82 ERA over five starts, four of them score­less, Gaus­man has al­lowed five runs in each of his past two starts.

Showal­ter seemed frus­trated with Lit­tle’s strike zone from the start, when Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez recorded five of his first six outs by strike­out, but it boiled over in the sev­enth when Davis was un­happy with a strike-three call for his third strike­out of the night.

As Davis walked away, he turned to say some­thing to Lit­tle, who ejected him quickly. Showal­ter then en­gaged Lit­tle and was tossed for his first ejec­tion of the sea­son.

Toronto catcher Rus­sell Martin opened the fourth in­ning with a hit that one-hopped off the left­cen­ter-field fence, but J.J. Hardy’s re­lay throw from Bourn reached Ori­oles third base­man Manny Machado tosses his hel­met af­ter strik­ing out in the first in­ning against Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez. sec­ond base in time to nab him slid­ing head­first.

Toronto man­ager John Gib­bons chal­lenged the call, and the Rogers Cen­tre crowd re­acted as though Martin’s hand had beaten Jonathan Schoop’s sweep tag, but the call stood af­ter video re­view.

TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES

Plate um­pire Will Lit­tle throws the Ori­oles’ Chris Davis out of the game for ar­gu­ing a called third strike in the sev­enth in­ning.

MARK BLINCH/CANADIAN PRESS

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