Orioles eliminated with extra-innings loss to Jays
'Huge disappointment' for Showalter; Tillman sharp, but 'pen falters
By Brittany Ghiroli / 9/24/2013 11:44 PM ET
BALTIMORE -- The magic is over.
The Orioles' postseason hopes officially ended Tuesday night, with any glimmer of hope for the slumping club erased as it tied its season high with a sixth consecutive loss, a 3-2, 10-inning defeat to the Blue Jays at Camden Yards.
Baltimore, which carried a one-run lead into the eighth inning, has had a nightmarish September and squandered a quality outing from starter Chris Tillman with ineffective relief pitching and a stalled offense. The loss, coupled with the Indians' win over the White Sox, ended the Orioles' American League Wild Card hopes as the organization, which earned its first playoff game in 15 years in 2012, fell short of a repeat bid.
"I probably won't reflect on it properly right now," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You could ask me that tomorrow and I might have a better answer for it. It's a huge disappointment for us, to say the least."
"It's tough because, when we got there last year, we didn't just expect to be there again this year," said left fielder Nate McLouth, who homered in the loss. "It's tough to get to the playoffs and being in one of the toughest divisions probably makes it a little tougher. Having that be your expectation and your goal, for it to not come to be is disappointing, because it's such a long season and we go through so many ups and downs. And with that being the ultimate goal, now that's out of there, so it's a tough night."
Tuesday's loss -- which again saw the offense struggle and the bullpen falter late -- drops the Orioles to 17-31 in one-run games after setting a record in that mark a season ago and was a microcosm for a season that slipped away.
"You could look at it like that," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "We look at our team that we've got a good team and we still believe that, but this just wasn't our year."
The Orioles, who scored both of their runs via homers, have scored five or fewer runs in 21 consecutive games, the longest stretch in club history since September 1992. Baltimore, which is averaging a run less this month than the rest of the season, is coming off a 10-game trip in which it hit under .200 as a team with a once-potent lineup failing at the wrong time.
"There were a lot of good things that went on, but it's tough to dwell on it too much right now because we understand what the finished product was supposed to be, and it wasn't tonight," Showalter said. "And they'll be playing games when we want to play them."
Right-hander Francisco Rodriguez was tagged with the loss, allowing a two-out single in the 10th by Mark DeRosa, who also drove in the tying run off lefty Brian Matusz in the eighth. In the 10th, Rodriguez gave up a one-walk to Jose Reyes followed by Munenori Kawasaki's single. Rodriguez nearly picked off Reyes at second base, a call that came back to haunt the O's as the speedster was beat by the throw, but avoided the tag.
"I played with K-Rod, behind him for a couple of years, I know he's a little bit slow to the plate and in that sequence he was a little quick to the plate, but if he gave me one chance, one opportunity to go, when I get on base I always look to go," Reyes said. "They picked me off, but I was lucky that I was safe."
The Blue Jays made extras necessary off rookie Kevin Gausman, who allowed a leadoff single to Reyes. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, Reyes advanced to third on a wild pitch to put the tying run 90 feet away, and Gausman promptly struck out Brett Lawrie. Matusz came on to face DeRosa, who hit a perfectly placed ball into right field to tie it at 2.
Pitching for possibly the last time this season, Tillman delivered. The 25-year-old continued his ascent from failed prospect into bona-fide ace, delivering seven stellar innings and ensuring that if this was the American League All Star's curtain call, it was a fine farewell.
Tillman, who became the fifth Orioles pitcher since 2001 to hit the 200-inning mark, went at least seven innings for the sixth time in seven games and retired 11 of the final 13 in his 113-pitch outing. The righty struck out nine and allowed five hits, with the Blue Jays' lone run off him coming on Ryan Goins' second-inning single that deflected off Tillman's glove.
"We depended so much on him over the year and he very seldom disappoints," Showalter said. "I'm real proud of him and what he's accomplished this season. It's a great milestone for a young pitcher to be somebody that his teammates can count on to take you deep in a game. He's been pretty consistent. ... That's hopefully a good sign of things to come."
The Orioles got on the board with Brian Roberts' full-count shot off starter -- and former teammate this spring -- Todd Redmond, and McLouth followed by sending a 0-1 sinker into right field. McLouth's homer was the 100th of his career. Those were the only runs allowed by Redmond, who exited after 5 2/3 innings and was tagged with eight hits and two walks, as the Blue Jays bullpen came in and threw 4 1/3 scoreless frames.
"It's tough on the team," said Tillman, who has shied away all season from any individual accomplishments. "Personally, I think it's been a long year. We worked hard and we grinded it out. It was a constant battle for us. It is disappointing. It's tough, but at the same time, we played a lot of good baseball."