The Washington Post

O’s drop series finale after Bautista’s lapse


- BY ANDY KOSTKA — Baltimore Sun

cincinnati — Félix Bautista’s splitter has been nearly untouchabl­e this season, but at a certain point, even the best pitches can be clobbered. The Baltimore Orioles right-hander had thrown three straight elevated fastballs to Cincinnati Reds first baseman Brandon Drury on Sunday. Ahead in the count, Bautista tried to change eye levels.

The splitter — which should have dipped beneath the zone — instead hung up for Drury. And with that one mistake in a tie game, one of the Orioles’ best relievers was forced to turn and watch the ball fly over the left field fence at Great American Ball Park, the go-ahead home run for Cincinnati in a 3-2 series-deciding loss for Baltimore.

After five scoreless frames from starter Austin Voth, who scattered four hits and struck out six batters without issuing a walk, the Reds got on the board in the sixth against the Orioles’ bullpen, with left-hander Cionel Pérez allowing two runners he inherited from right-hander Bryan Baker to come across.

Baltimore got a run back in the seventh on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly by Cedric Mullins, and when Anthony Santander tied the game at 2 with a long blast to right field in the eighth, a comeback victory seemed nearly inevitable. That’s what the Orioles (51-51) have done so frequently this season, with 23 come-from-behind wins on their ledger.

But after Bautista’s lapse, Baltimore couldn’t stage another rally against Kyle Farmer, who entered with a 6.20 ERA yet worked around a two-out walk to earn his first career save for the Reds (40-61).

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