The Orioles have fallen 2 1/2 games behind the Rays in the wild card race after tonight’s 6-5 loss to the Yankees at Camden Yards.
They trailed 5-1, battled back to tie the game and lost it in the ninth when Jim Johnson gave up a leadoff single, committed a throwing error and uncorked a wild pitch.
According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, Johnson had never allowed a run to score on a wild pitch until tonight.
Left fielder Alfonso Soriano robbed Manny Machado of a home run in the eighth before Danny Valencia’s three-run shot tied it.
Momentary euphoria, followed by another shot to the gut.
Here’s a sampling from manager Buck Showalter’s postgame session with the media:
On how difficult it was to lose this game:
“It’s frustrating, a lot of the game was, but our guys battled back and I’m real proud of them. They played real well defensively, which was probably the difference in the game for the most part. It was a difference-maker. Jimmy’s one of our best fielding pitchers. Nobody works harder at it than him. He just couldn’t quite get a good grip on it. But some other things, too. I thought Wei-Yin (Chen) came back and pitched real well after those two innings. A lot of guys would have pulled the dirt in around them. I was really happy with him. (Josh) Stinson threw the ball well, kept us in it, and guys found a way. Nicky (Markakis) had a couple big knocks for us. Big double play there to give us a chance, but we weren’t able to do much off (Mariano) Rivera there.”
“He settled in real good there. He had a sharp breaking ball after the third inning. He was dominant after that, which is hard to do with that many right-handed hitters, but he was. We’re real proud of him. We let him go a little bit there with him getting an extra day next time out.”
On whether he considered removing Chen before the fourth:
“I came close. I was going hitter to hitter with him, as you saw with Stevie (Johnson) there. But he got back in line, got back in step and he felt really good. He’s one of our best-conditioned pitchers. You give thought to it, but I’m glad I didn’t.”
On club’s resolve being tested:
“I think your resolve is proven by coming back and tying the game up at 5-1 after (Curtis) Granderson hit the home run. Resolve is not an issue here with these guys.”
“I think everybody had a lot of adrenaline there. He gives up a single to the opposite field and a bunt that he usually makes the play, and another bunt. I think it was a changeup, just kind of over-torqued it a little bit. There’s a lot of guys with not many wild pitches on our staff because of Matt Wieters. That ball’s a little too short for him. If Matt can’t block it, it can’t be blocked. Came back and got a big double play ball against a very good hitter.”
On what the Orioles have to do over the remaining weeks:
“Win. It’s not overly complicated. A lot of baseball left. Very easy group of young men to have confidence in. I’m lucky and honored to have a seat to watch it, just like I was tonight. And we’ll see what tomorrow brings. We’ll get to bed about 4 or 5 in the morning and do it again tomorrow night.”
“We felt good with a couple matchups with him. Rivera and him and (David) Robertson with the reverse splits. Danny’s in a good place right now and I’ll continue to match him up, but the way he’s handling himself, that’s how you get dictated more opportunities. He’s got a good look on his face. He’s been a real contributor for us.”