Nate McLouth delivered a three run home run with no outs in the ninth, but the Baltimore Orioles came up one run short of tying the game as they dropped the second game of the three game set 4-3 to the Cleveland Indians to set up a rubber match tonight.
Baltimore's offense could not scratch a run across the entire night until Cleveland's closer, Chris Perez came into the game in the ninth and got to him for three runs before he even recorded an out with Nick Markakis and JJ Hardy leading off the inning with singles before McLouth's home run, but the top of the lineup could not scratch another run across.
The Orioles had managed just five hits before the ninth inning, but had some chances with runners in scoring position. Before McLouth's home run, Baltimore had been 0-8 with runners in scoring position in the game, and finished 1-9. Perhaps the best scoring chance for the O's, especially early came in the top of the second when the Orioles had runners on first and third with one out, but as seems to be the case lately, Markakis fouled out and then Hardy followed with a flyout. Markakis continues to struggle with a runner on third and less than two outs as he is hitting just .222 this season in that situation.
McLouth led the way offensively going 2-4 with a home run and three RBI, while Hardy also had a multi hit game for the Birds going 2-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman (15-5) had one of his more rougher nights of the season as he obviously did not have his best command. Tillman continually found himself in trouble and produced a season high five walks on the night. Once his night was over, as it came unraveled in the sixth when he allowed three runs, he had allowed four runs total over 5 1/3 innings pitched, while allowing five hits, the five walks and struck out just three.
Despite losing, the worst thing of the night for the Birds was the fact that everyone in the AL Wildcard race won, with the exception of the A's, because they were playing the Rangers, so the Orioles gave up ground to almost everyone.
In a bit of a surprise move, the Orioles will send Zach Britton (2-3) to the mound tonight for the start as the O's will try to win the series with the Indians before returning home tomorrow. Every game is obviously big for Baltimore the rest of the way, but tonight may be as close to a must win as it gets on September 4th.
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