For the second time this season, Jim Johnson blew a third consecutive save opportunity and his ninth overall as the Baltimore Orioles got swept out of Arizona after a 5-4 loss in 14 innings yesterday. Aaron Hill knocked in the game winning run for the Arizona Diamondbacks third consecutive walkoff win against the Orioles.
Johnson entered the game in the ninth inning with a 4-3 lead, and Orioles fans were already irate that Manager Buck Showalter would even bring in Johnson in that situation after he blew his eighth save on Tuesday. That feeling worsened ten fold after Johnson gave up a leadoff double, an out, an intentional walk then the game tying single to Aaron Hill to have Orioles fans' nightmares come true once again. Although Johnson did get his team out of the ninth without losing the game, things are about as worse as it gets for Johnson, and we fully expect some sort of news that Johnson is either going to get a break from closing or be part of a closer by committee approach.
Baltimore had reached the point where Bud Norris (8-10) had to come into the game to do his side work because the Orioles only had one pitcher left in the bullpen. Norris entered in the bottom of the 14th inning for just his second ever relief appearance, and it was apparent that he was not comfortable on the mound due to not being able to do his normal getting loose routine. He walked the first two hitters of the inning, but came back and struck out Tuesday's hero Paul Goldschmidt. Hill, who tied the game in the ninth, came through with a single up the middle to deliver the walkoff win.
Chris Tillman (14-3) did not have his best game, but still left with a chance to pick up his 15th win of the season as he tossed six innings, while allowing two runs on five hits, three walks and just one strikeout.
The Orioles offense had one inning in the game where they showed up. Trailing 1-0 in the second inning, the offense scored four runs with two outs courtesy of a Nick Markakis two run single and was followed by a two run bomb from Manny Machado to give the Birds a 4-1 lead just like that.
In the other 13 innings of the game, the offense managed ten hits, but could not score another run. As a team, the Birds went 2-11 with runners in scoring position, struck out 15 times and drew just one walk.
Baltimore will not enjoy an off day that will be used to regroup before starting a nine game home stand tomorrow against the Colorado Rockies. The nine game home stand includes three against the Tampa Bay Rays and three against the Oakland A's so the Orioles will have a golden opportunity to gain some ground in the AL Wildcard race.
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