A shaky save would have been better than a blown save, but the O’s didn’t get one today.
Toronto No. 9 hitter Munenori Kawasaki drilled a two-run double on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the last of the ninth as the Blue Jays stunned the Orioles 6-5. Toronto scored four in the ninth off Jim Johnson, who suffered his fourth blown save in his last five chances.
The O’s went to the bottom of the ninth up 5-2 but Toronto pulled within 5-3 on a J.P. Arencibia RBI single and 5-4 on a Mark DeRosa fielder’s choice grounder. The O’s were one pitch away from winning and they could not get it.
The game ended on Johnson’s 37th pitch and the Orioles now have a closer crisis, it appears.
Over his last six appearances, Johnson is 1-for-5 in saves with three losses and a 21.60 ERA allowing 13 hits and 12 runs over five innings.
The blown save overshadowed a big day by Matt Wieters, who had four hits, including three doubles, and three RBIs. His two-run double in the top of the ninth gave the O’s a cushion for the last of the ninth inning, turning a one-run lead into a 5-2 edge. It’s his first four-hit game of the season.
Wieters began today in a 3-for-25 slump but now has 14 RBIs over his past 16 games.
Tommy Hunter would have been one of the day’s heroes had they won it. He pitched out a bases-loaded jam in the seventh with the O’s up 3-1 and was on the mound with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth with the O’s up 3-2. He got ahead of Jose Bautista 0-2, throwing fastballs at 98 and 99 mph. He then fielded a hard-hit comebacker with his pitching hand and threw out the Jays slugger to end a major threat.
Making his second start since coming off the disabled list, Miguel Gonzalez went 5 2/3 inning, allowing four hits and one run, throwing 101 pitches. Gonzalez has worked to an ERA of 2.13 these last two starts.
Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the seventh that gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead. It was his ninth homer in 13 games at Rogers Centre since the start of the 2012 season, the most by any opponent. He ties teammate Chris Davis with 11 homers against the Jays since the start of last year to lead all players.
Jones homered in each game of the Toronto series and that is a career-best for him - four consecutive games with a homer. He has hit six in his last 13 games and has 10 overall.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead against right-hander Chad Jenkins in the second on a Wieters RBI double and a Danny Valencia RBI groundout.
Manny Machado added two hits, including his major league-leading 22nd double, and Nick Markakis added two hits to extend his batting streak to 11 games. During that run, Markakis is batting .383 (18-for-47) with two homers, nine RBIs and five multi-hit games.
All of this was pointing toward an important Orioles win that they could not get. Johnson was 51-for-54 in save chances last year and now is 15-for-19. He is now 2-5 with a 5.25 ERA.
The Orioles are 8-7 in one-run games.
The Orioles fell to 27-23 with the loss and now they head into a four-game, home-and-home series starting Monday in Washington against the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. when Jason Hammel (6-2, 5.37 ERA) faces the Nats Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 3.66 ERA).