NEW YORK - Most of the blame for the Orioles’ 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees tonight will be laid upon the shoulders of center fielder Adam Jones, whose dropped fly ball in the seventh inning let three runs score. However, other aspects of the club’s performance can’t be overlooked or easily excused.
Let’s start with the 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play that the Yankees turned in the eighth.
Manny Machado was tagged out at second to end the inning after second baseman Robinson Cano fielded his one-hopper and threw to second for the force. Alexi Casilla, who held up initially, got caught in a rundown between second and third. Machado tried to take an extra base and paid for the decision.
“There’s nothing the baserunners can do,” manager Buck Showalter said. “They’ve got to freeze on it. Not sure if he’s going to catch it on the fly. We just made a mistake on the tail end.
“The two lead runners made the right play. It’s a line drive short-hop. You can’t go anywhere because if he catches it, then he does get multiple outs. We just made a mistake on the trail runner trying to get a little over-aggressive, a young player. But Manny’s one of the reasons why we were in that game.”
Here’s Machado’s take on the play:
“Ball was hit hard, right at Cano. It’s a tough, tough judgment call.
“You’ve got to hold on that, let the ball drop. They made the right play. (Jayson) Nix made the right play. Threw the ball to third and I was just trying to get in scoring position at that point, let Jonesy (Adam Jones) come up to hit and change the game a little bit. It was a tough call. Tough play.”
Was Machado being too aggressive on the basepaths?
“I think so,” he replied. “We’re down by three. I should have stayed at first. It was just in the heat of the moment, things that you don’t think about at that moment. It just happens.”
Orioles pitching was responsible for six walks - one intentional - and two hit batters, which seemed to irritate Showalter more than anything else tonight.
“It’s a tough, tough night to play,” Showalter said. “I think ‘raw’ is the word for both sides and one of those games you’ve really got to try to figure a way. We came real close there. Came back and tied it up. We did some good things. I’ll dwell on those without becoming blind to some things we’ve got to get better at.
“I think we walked too many people and hit a couple guys and gave them too many free passes. (But) you can overcome it. It was still just two runs up there. It doesn’t mean because you walked more people than you normally do that you concede the game. We didn’t. We were right there.”
Troy Patton hit Travis Hafner with two outs in the seventh to load the bases for Vernon Wells. Pedro Strop entered the game, Wells hit a long fly ball to Jones, and you know the rest.
“We put some people out there,” Showalter said. “The hit by pitch on Hafner was a big play.”
The wind also may have robbed Steve Pearce of a home run in the seventh inning, which also would have been his first hit of the season.
“Pearce hit a ball that would be out any other day,” Showalter said. “If he hits it at 4 o’clock or some other time, it’s out there in the bullpen, so that was unfortunate.”
Starter Miguel Gonzalez walked five batters and hit another in six-plus innings.
“Miguel, I don’t think he felt the baseball,” Showalter said. “He didn’t really have a feel for his curveball most of the game. It was frustrating for him, but CC (Sabathia) had a good outing, did a lot of things he’s been doing for a long time. He’s a pitcher.
“Miguel gave us a chance to win the game. We were fortunate not to give up more damage than we did.”
Gonzalez battled the elements all night.
“First time out doing it, it’s April, it was a little tough,” he said. “The grip was tough to handle, but no excuses. I battled. I did my best. I tried to keep my team in the game.
“Matt (Wieters) was telling me, ‘What’s wrong, what’s wrong?’ and I told him it’s part of the game. They did a good job when I was leaving the ball up. (Kevin) Youkilis and Cano did a pretty good job when I was falling behind and I was leaving the ball up a little bit.
“I don’t think anyone likes to walk guys, so it was a tough night for me. It is what it is. I tried to battle as best I can when I was out there and we made good plays when we needed to. Things just happen.”
Machado was asked about Jones’ error.
“They scored three runs and went ahead, but you know what? He’s a leader of this team and he’s going to go out there and always fight,” Machado said. “He’s always fighting with us, fighting until the end. He came out there and stayed mentally strong and was pushing us in the dugout. So things happen. Errors happen. And it’s all part of the game.”
Nothing was said in the dugout about the miscue.
“No, we’re all men here,” Machado said. “We know what happened. He knows what happened. But he came up there, stayed quiet and just motivated us more. And pumped us up.”