The Orioles could have given closer Kevin Gregg a bigger margin for error in the bottom of the eighth after loading the bases with one out, but their failure to score meant the right-hander would have to protect a one-run lead.
He couldn’t do it. And it almost defies explanation.
Gregg hadn’t allowed a run in his last three appearances since the meltdown in Anaheim, when he failed to retire a batter for the second time in four outings.
Gregg gave up a single to J.P Arencibia on the first pitch he threw tonight, and he walked No. 9 hitter Mike McCoy on four pitches to move pinch-runner Dewayne Wise to second base.
Let the booing begin.
First baseman Mark Reynolds and catcher Matt Wieters went to the mound as Yunel Escobar stepped to the plate. They should have discussed who would cover second and third on an attempted bunt. Escobar squared around, took a ball, and the Blue Jays pulled off the most delayed double steal in baseball history.
Escobar followed with a sinking liner to right field. Markakis made a diving catch - which first base umpire Chad Fairchild signaled - and Wise raced home. I could have sworn that Wise left too soon. The Orioles appealed at third. They appealed at second. Nothing.
Tie game, McCoy at third base and one out.
McCoy held on Eric Thames fly ball to shallow left. The Orioles walked Jose Bautista intentionally, and Adam Lind walked unintentionally to load the bases on Gregg’s 23rd pitch of the inning.
Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a force, and Gregg made the slow walk back to the dugout.
Jim Johnson threw two scoreless innings after replacing starter Jeremy Guthrie, who should have improved to 7-16 with a 4.42 ERA.
The ERA stands. The seventh win eludes him.
A crazy, crazy inning. No excuse for the Orioles allowing the double steal. And I still thought Wise was halfway between third and home as Markakis made the catch. My eyes must be playing tricks on me. Maybe I need LASIK surgery.
Update: Kelly Johnson tripled to lead off the 10th and scored on Willie Eyre’s wild pitch.
But just when you think the Orioles are done...
Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds walked against left-hander Brian Tallet to open the bottom half of the inning. Robert Andino failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt for the second straight at-bat, this time bunting foul with two strikes, but pinch-hitter Jake Fox delivered an RBI single into right-center field to tie the game, 5-5.
With runners on the corners, Ryan Adams delivered his first major league walk-off hit with a single into deep right-center.
Orioles 6, Toronto 5.
Nothing to it, right?