During the last two games against the New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles offense started living up to the high expectations placed on their bats coming into the new season. But tonight's game against visiting Toronto turned into a pitching duel between Blue Jays' starter Dustin McGowan and Orioles hurler Chris Tillman. Tillman was effective through eight innings, but McGowan was just as sharp. In the end, it was not the offense that made the difference in this game, but the shoddy defense of the Orioles that gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 2-0 victory before 22,327 at Camden Yards.
Last year, Baltimore was the best defensive team in the history of Major League Baseball and through the first week of the 2014 campaign the Orioles had the league's best defense again with only one error. However, two costly throwing errors by third-baseman Jonathan Schoop led to two Toronto runs and Baltimore's bats were unable to overcome the deficit. On the first play, Schoop fielded a grounder by Jose Bautista and threw the ball over first baseman Chris Davis to put two runners on. On the very next play, Adam Lind hit a chopper to Schoop who threw the ball errantly past second baseman Ryan Flaherty to put the Blue Jays on the board at 1-0. Dioner Navarro would then hit a soft grounder to Chris Davis at first base. Davis threw to second, but on the return throw Ryan Flaherty threw the ball past Davis and the Blue Jays were up 2-0. As it turned out, it was all the Jays needed as starter Dustin McGowan shut out the birds through 6 1/3 innings and the Toronto bullpen shut down the Orioles the rest of the way.
Offensively, the Orioles were not able to put anything together on the bases. Chris Davis and Adam Jones were able to get some good wood on the ball, but their hits didn't have enough punch to make it over the fence. The best rally of the night for Baltimore came in the bottom of the 5th inning. After two outs, singles by Nick Markakis, Delmon Young, and Chris Davis loaded the bases. One hit would likely tie the game, and a double could have given the Orioles the lead. With Adam Jones at the plate, Orioles fans were hoping for something even grander. However, Jones' drive to center field came up short and the rally ended.
The Orioles fall to 4-6 on the season while the Blue Jays improve to 6-5. Saturday's matchup will feature Bud Norris of the Orioles against Drew Hutchison and Sunday's finale promises a showdown between the Orioles' Ubaldo Jiminez and Toronto's Mark Buehrle.
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