They’d like to erase the ending.
Carlos Beltran’s three-run walk-off home run gave New York a 5-3 win over the Orioles and handed Britton his second blown save.
“You don’t ever assume anything,” said manager Buck Showalter. “It’s a good lineup the whole way through. You know at some point they are going to ... Just couldn’t quite get that last one. We’ve done that a lot this year where we have gotten that last out. Zach has been rock solid for us in a time of need and will be again.”
Showalter is confident that Britton will bounce back, as the left-hander did following his first blown save.
“Sure,” Showalter said. “It’s tough. Some of the best players in the world they’re able to bring in here, and everyone is able to. It’s a fine margin of error. Tonight, he wasn’t able to make the last pitch. It’s not an easy job and he’s been doing it at a very high level. And hopefully will again.”
Ubaldo Jimenez walked six batters in 5 2/3 innings. Though he allowed only one run, the loss of control is wearing thin on Showalter.
“It forces Mac (T.J. McFarland) to pitch a little bit more and puts us in jeopardy with some length tomorrow,” Showalter said. “I could look at the finished product and say one thing, but the six walks, I thought he and we were very fortunate to survive those tonight. I think more times than not, the baseball gods will get you on that one.”
McFarland faced six batters and got six groundball outs.
“He was good,” Showalter said. “Very quietly, T.J. is putting together a good year for us. And it’s a lot of different roles we’ve thrown at him. Tonight, we needed some length there and he made some really good pitches against a tough lineup.
“(Hiroki) Kuroda is a good pitcher. He’s been tough on us, doesn’t make very many mistakes, so we had to have a well-pitched game and be fortunate to dodge some walks along the way. We walked seven or eight on the night? You don’t like your chances with that. It kind of bit us tonight.”
What about the walks?
“The first few innings, I felt really good,” Jimenez said. “The fourth, fifth inning, I started rushing my mechanics. I was trying to make my fastball move a little bit more, but that was a mistake. It caused my front shoulder to fly open and that’s what made everything difficult. More difficult to throw strikes.
“When everything is good, it’s not hard. The first four innings, I felt good, I was attacking the strike zone, getting ahead. Just like pretty much, one inning, one hitter. It seemed like tonight when I got a runner on first base, that’s when I started to go too quick.”
At least he only surrendered one run.
“I’m going to be going out there as far as I can with everything that I have, and I minimized the damage,” Jimenez said. “It seemed like I had a lot of runners on base. A couple of bases-loaded situations I was able to, with the great defense that we have, get out of the jam.”
Britton couldn’t escape his jam in the ninth and lost on a 96 mph fastball that Beltran pulled into the left field seats.
“It could happen to anyone,” Jimenez said. “You can ask Mariano Rivera. He’s one of the best closers and it definitely happened. He’s been pitching great. It’s one of those games. We have to forget about it and come back tomorrow.”
Said Britton: “You’re one good pitch away, keeping the ball down, I can get out of that inning. It was just kind of a fight, little bit of the balls running everywhere. I made the adjustments, just not when it really counted.
“That last pitch right there, he’s a good high ball hitter when he is facing a lefty and I kind of put it right where he could do some damage. The only way I am going to be successful is getting the ball down and I wasn’t. A couple of the hit balls were up a little bit. It’s all about making the adjustments and getting the ball down.”
Britton struggled with his command for most of the inning.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I made good adjustments going in on guys, but it seemed like that one pitch, if I was ahead in the count, just couldn’t make a good quality pitch down in the zone. Just an adjustment you make. Getting a ground ball and get out of that inning. It was just that I was up in the zone and they capitalized on a walk, a couple hits and I left a ball up to Beltran right there where he could do some damage.”
Now Britton must shake it off and be ready if there’s another save situation on Saturday.
“Definitely,” he said. “It’s frustrating because these are games we want to win right now. But, yeah, you’ve got to turn the page. It’s the only thing you can do. You can’t just sit here and mope about it. You go out there and make the adjustment next time and go out there and pound the zone, throw strikes and get ahead and get ground balls.”
Catcher Nick Hundley thought Britton had the usual stuff, just an unfamiliar result.
“Not much different,” he said. “Stuff was good. Velocity and his life were good. He put together a couple of good at-bats. (Brett) Gardner shoots one down the left field line and you can’t really defend that. (Brian) McCann, tough left-on-left matchup, does a good job to elevate some to the middle of the field. You’ve got to give him credit for that. And (Mark) Teixeira works a walk, and all of a sudden he’s pitching to Beltran.
“Got to face Beltran with the game on the line, but I don’t think his stuff was any different than it has been. His stuff is electric, and that’s the guy we want in the game. When he’s out there, we’re really confident. We’re confident he’s going to win a lot more than we lose. Hopefully, tomorrow we’re in the same position and we expect him to get the job done.”
Hundley tried to help Jimenez find the strike zone. It really got away from Jimenez in the fifth when he walked the bases loaded with two outs.
“Just out of the stretch, it looks like he was rushing a little bit, so I went out and talked to him about staying closed a little longer,” Hundley said. “I thought he made good adjustments throughout the game, pitched this lineup tough. Obviously, you don’t want to walk guys, but at the same time, they earned some of that too. I thought he did a good job keeping us in it, giving up one. He really, really did a good job for us.”
Hundley broke up Kuroda’s no-hit bid with a leadoff double in the sixth.
Hundley said the Orioles weren’t thinking no-hitter at that point.
“There’s still a long way to go,” he said. “Obviously, he had good stuff. We battled him. He had 90 pitches going into the fifth. We’re trying to get him out of the game and have the lead, and we did it. Obviously, his stuff was sharp tonight. Saw some 93s, 94s, split was going good. He did a good job. I thought we battled him well. Got him out of the game, and I liked our chances.”