Re­liever O’Day dis­putes checked swing, Orioles’ win streak snapped be­hind back-to-back homers

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN


— Dar­ren O’Day’s ap­pear­ance on the mound be­gan with con­sec­u­tive strike­outs.

The Bal­ti­more Orioles’ re­lief pitcher thought he had re­tired his third-straight bat­ter, but the first base um­pire ruled Detroit Tigers’ out­fielder J.D. Martinez’s checked swing ball three. It cre­ated a full count and was the first of a night­mar­ish three-pitch span for O’Day in the top of the eighth in­ning Sun­day at Cam­den Yards.

“It was a good pitch. I thought I’d get him to swing


at it and I did. [First base um­pire] Mark Wegner ab­so­lutely em­bar­rassed him­self,” O’Day said. “I have a great re­la­tion­ship with a lot of um­pires, some I’d con­sider friends. They have a tough job, it’s a judge­ment call, but that was pretty egre­gious. [I] saw the re­play, it’s a swing. Hit­ters that good don’t need ex­tra chances.

“I like that he checked, I ap­pre­ci­ate that [home plate um­pire] Jeff [Kel­logg] didn’t call it be­cause that’s what the first base um­pire is sup­posed to be watch­ing. Strike three, I was headed to the dugout. It’s tough to be an um­pire. It’s a tough job, but you’ve got to be bet­ter than that.”

Martinez sent the next pitch out of the park.

“When you’re out there try­ing to do your job to the best of your abil­ity—I’m try­ing to pitch, he’s try­ing to un­pire—some­body dropped the ball to­day. I con­se­quen­tially dropped the ball af­ter that,” O’Day said. “The pitch that Martinez hit out wasn’t a bad pitch, I’m not too frus­trated by that. Like I said, he’s a really good hit­ter, so he doesn’t need ex­tra chances.”

Two-time Amer­i­can League MVP, four-time AL bat­ting champ and the last player to win the Triple Crown Miguel Cabr­era fol­lowed with a first pitch home run. The back-to-back solo home runs erased Bal­ti­more’s one-run lead and put the Tigers ahead by the fi­nal score of 6-5.

“I’ll take the loss. I blew it. The pitch to Cabr­era was es­pe­cially bad, it’s not like me, I’m pretty col­lected out there,” O’Day said. “I blew that. I’ll take the loss that’s with my name in the box score, but that was ter­ri­ble. It’s ter­ri­ble. Games like that, as­sum­ing [closer] Zach [Britton] does what he nor­mally does in the ninth in­ning, that’s a win and a se­ries sweep against a really good team.”

The Orioles (23-13) en­tered Sun­day with a chance for a four-game sweep of Detroit (16-21). The loss also snapped a sea­son-high ty­ing seven-game win streak.

“I look petu­lant, whiny, be­cause I’m com­plain­ing about it, but there’s no ac­count­abil­ity,” O’Day said. “That costs games. If we lose the di­vi­sion by one game, there’s no telling what that costs.”

Man­ager Buck Showal­ter said he was “sur­prised the home-plate um­pire didn’t call it. It was that ob­vi­ous.” He made a case for checked swings to be re­view­able.

“It’s a tough call. That’s why you see so much in­con­sis­tency in it, ev­i­dently,” Showal­ter said. “It’s some­thing we could get right. Ob­vi­ously, there’s so much dis­crep­ancy with it back and forth. It’s ob­vi­ous the hu­man eye has trou­ble with it. I’m sure some­where in the fu­ture we’ll fix that, not in my time, though.”

O’Day walked the next bat­ter on four pitches be­fore he was re­placed.

Starter Kevin Gaus­man also strug­gled, al­low­ing a ca­reer-high 10 hits in five in­nings of work. He sur­ren­dered four runs and recorded only a sin­gle strike­out.

Gaus­man al­lowed one run in each of the first, sec­ond, fourth and fifth in­nings.

Bal­ti­more put three runs on the board in the open­ing in­ning be­hind an RBI dou­ble from Adam Jones that scored Joey Rickard and a Jonathan Schoop sin­gle that drove in Jones and Chris Davis.

The Orioles took a 5-4 lead in the bot­tom of the fifth on a two-run home run from short­stop Manny Machado—his 11th of the year, ty­ing him with Mark Trumbo for the team lead. Bal­ti­more held the one-run lead un­til the eighth in­ning.

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

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