Trailing 2-1, Toronto scored twice off Britton in the bottom of the ninth to produce a 3-2 walk-off win as the Orioles’ losing streak reached six games and they fall to 71-74. It was the latest damaging loss for their flickering playoff hopes.
Britton struck out Kendrys Morales to get out a big jam in the eighth in his attempt at a four-out save. But he issued a walk to Kevin Pillar to start the ninth and gave up a single to Teoscar Hernandez to put runners on the corners with no outs. After an infield out at second, Luke Maile’s single tied it and Richard Urena’s line single to center won it 3-2. Darwin Barney slid home ahead of the throw of center fielder Adam Jones as Toronto completed the walk-off victory.
Britton suffered his second blown save of the year in 15 chances.
“One thing I’ve known now in pitching the ninth for a while. You don’t get away with those mistakes. Especially in a one run game, putting a guy on, you’ve got to be really good after that,” Britton said of the leadoff walk.
“I was hoping to get a double play ball, but just couldn’t make that quality pitch to get out of there. They put good at-bats together but got to be better than that in the situation we are. I just didn’t make quality pitches.
“I executed to Morales when I came in and then the leadoff walk - that just puts you in a bind right away. You know, had a chance to get out of that inning. Get a double play after the walk, but just didn’t make a good enough pitch to do it. Just kind of let the inning get away from me, which is pretty frustrating,” Britton said.
In the eighth, the Orioles had taken a 2-1 lead on one big swing by shortstop Tim Beckham.
His line drive homer broke a 1-1 tie and put the Orioles in positon to snap a losing streak. But it didn’t happen.
Right-hander Joe Biagini was pitching a gem for Toronto and faced Beckham with one out and none on. He drilled a 94 mph fastball 405 feet to left center on a 1-1 pitch for the lead. It was his ninth homer in 40 games with the Orioles and No. 21 between the Rays and Orioles.
Meanwhile, O’s starter, right-hander Dylan Bundy gave the Orioles another outstanding start tonight. Over six innings he gave up five hits and one run with one walk and eight strikeouts. He threw 89 pitches, 65 for strikes and reduced his ERA to 4.03. It was his 19th quality start in 27 games.
Bundy pitched out of few jams, including one with two on and no outs in the sixth. Toronto went 0-for-7 against him with runners in scoring position as he got a no decision.
But Toronto hitters made some solid contact in the third and fourth innings off Bundy. They scored that lone run in the third. Batting ninth, catcher Luke Maile led off with a single to center. Deep fly outs to right and center followed, and then Justin Smoak crushed a double to deep right for the 1-0 lead. Right fielder Joey Rickard went crashing into the wall to try and make a great catch. On Smoak’s 86th RBI, the Blue Jays broke the 0-0 tie.
Biagini had blanked the Orioles over seven innings on Sept. 1 and tonight he put up zeroes through six innings on just 61 pitches.
But the Orioles finally scored in the top of the seventh. With one out Trey Mancini doubled to left. With two outs, Mark Trumbo’s single to center made it a 1-1 game. Trumbo began tonight just 3-for-24 his last seven games. Biagini gave up six hits and two runs over eight innings. He has allowed two runs over 15 innings in two September starts versus Baltimore.
The O’s bullpen pitched out of a big jam in the bottom of the eighth. The Jays put two on with one out against Brad Brach, but he got José Bautista to pop out for the second out. Britton came on and fanned Morales on a 96 mph two-seamer.
But Britton could not close it out and pick up what would have been his 14th save in 15 chances. The Orioles have scored just 10 runs in the last six games. They are 3-9 since they won seven in a row to move to three games over .500.
More postgame quotes:
Britton on whether the lack of recent work was a factor: “No. I mean, I’ve been through stretches where I haven’t had a save opportunity for a while. Like I said I came in to Morales and pounded the zone down. Just wasn’t able to do it, didn’t repeat it when I went back out there.”
Manager Buck Showalter on Toronto’s good at-bats in the ninth: “Of course they did. Everybody’s looking for one reason (why it got away). There’s a myriad of reasons why things happen. We’ve got certain ideas. He was really good in the eighth and threw some really good pitches in the ninth. They just hit a few balls where we couldn’t catch them. It’s a loss, and they’re hard to come by any time. I’ve told you all a lot ... you don’t reach this level, either team, without having a lot of competitive spirit in you and I think both teams showed it. Two well-pitched games and we weren’t able to finish it off.”
Showalter on Bundy’s outing: “Dylan gave us a great chance to win. I didn’t want to send him back out there and start the next inning. He was at what, 88-90 (pitches)? It was a good time to get him and keep in mind where we are with his season and we’re still hoping to make the playoffs and have him pitch for us in that. We did some good things, just not enough. We just haven’t been able to score many runs. You give their pitchers all the credit they need to get. But it’s kind of two-edged sword. They’re pitching well and we’re not swinging the bats well.”
Bundy on his outing and Britton in the ninth: “Yeah, I feel good about it, but feel bad about the loss. It’s just baseball for you. But my body felt great out there and me and Caleb (Joseph) had a good game plan I felt like and the defense was awesome again. Definitely suprises you (Britton) with what he has done in the past, but he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”