BOSTON - Orioles third baseman Manny Machado raced into shallow left field, his glove raised, his eyes locked on a looping ball off the bat off Red Sox pinch-hitter Mike Carp.
He almost had it. He only got air.
Carp’s single scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 3-3 tie.
The Orioles lost 4-3 and fell 4 1/2 games behind the Athletics for the second wild card.
“I thought I had it,” Machado said. “Just a little bit short. Jumped too early.
“I couldn’t do anything different. If we would’ve done it all over again, we wouldn’t do anything different. Same pitch. The luck was on their side.”
Machado also mentioned Dustin Pedroia’s ground ball into left field off Darren O’Day in the seventh that scored two runs and tied the game.
“Perfect placement, right between me and J.J. (Hardy),” Machado said. “You can’t get any better. Just lucky on their side.
“Luck hasn’t been on our side. We’ve been struggling lately. It’s been like that the whole year, but there’s a lot of baseball left to be played. Scratch this off, come out and play baseball tomorrow.”
Saltalamacchia’s two-out double off Tommy Hunter took more than luck, and it proved costly after the Orioles walked Stephen Drew intentionally to bring Carp to the plate.
Asked what went wrong, Hunter replied, “The flare base hit. That was probably what went wrong.”
Could he have made a better pitch?
“I don’t know. I was just a bad beat,” Hunter said. “You got a squibbler that goes through the six-hole there and then that happened at the end of the game. I mean, it’s just tough. There’s nothing really else you can say about it. A good hand got beat by a better hand. There’s nothing really you can say about it. You’re not going to throw any other pitch. Looked like a pretty good one. The ball’s falling their way.”
The Orioles now need to shake off two difficult losses in Boston - a blowout and an excruciating late turnaround.
“It is tough,” Hunter said. “That’s the game. You wake up tomorrow and play another one, so we’ve got a little over a month left in the season. We’re definitely not calling it quits. We’ve got an uphill climb and little time to do it.
“Luck is for ... I’d rather be lucky than good, but I think we’re pretty good, too. That’s baseball. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.”