The Baltimore Orioles have had three major weaknesses through the 2013 season, and two of those three showed their ugly head last night as the Birds dropped their sixth straight game 3-2 in ten innings.The loss officially eliminated the Orioles from playoff contention as they were vying for their second consecutive playoff appearance.
Of the three major weaknesses the Orioles have shown at points this season in starting pitching, bullpen failing to hold a lead and hitting with runners in scoring position, two of the three reared their ugly head as the bullpen failed to hold onto a 2-1 lead late in the ball game, and Baltimore once again could not get the big hit with runners in scoring position.
Chris Tillman (16-7) pitched wonderfully last night as he had his command working. Trying to pick up his 17th win of the season, Tillman gave the Orioles seven strong innings, while allowing just one run on five hits, one walk and tied a career high with nine strikeouts. Along with most of the starting rotation, Tillman has continued to pitch strong in September, but unfortunately for him, the bullpen would not hold onto the 2-1 lead he left the game with.
Kevin Gausman came into the game for the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff single followed by a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second with one out. Gausman then uncorked a wild pitch to allow the runner to move to third, but was able to strikeout Brett Lawrie for the second out of the inning. Mark DeRosa then came in to pinch hit for Adam Lind and delivered a two out RBI single to tie the game at two.
The teams would exchange scoreless ninth innings before Francisco Rodriguez would come in for the O's in the top of tenth. Rodriguez, who has struggled ever since he was acquired before the trade deadline, continued that trend and proceeded to allow the go ahead RBI single to DeRosa. The run allowed by Rodriguez increased his ERA with the Orioles to 4.50.
Baltimore's offense had one inning of highlight as Brian Roberts and Nate McLouth hit back-to-back solo home runs to give the Birds a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning. It was the fifth time this season the Orioles have had back-to-back home runs, but unfortunately for the O's, those would be the only runs they would score on the night. Baltimore went just 1-6 with runners in scoring position on the night and just could not capitalize with a big hit when it was needed most.
McLouth's home run was the 100th of his career.
With the Orioles officially eliminated from playoff contention, it will be interesting to see what kind of lineup Manager Buck Showalter puts out their tonight when Bud Norris (10-12) takes the mound against the Blue Jays.
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