The Orioles avoided being no-hit and shut out tonight, but they could not avoid another loss. Curtis Granderson's solo homer in the ninth off Darren O'Day broke a 1-1 tie as the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 2-1.
They've taken the first two games of this series to leave the Orioles at 4-8. After the momentum of the series win in New York, now the O's must win tomorrow to avoid being swept three straight at home, where they are 1-4 this season.
Granderson hit a 1-2 O'Day fastball onto the flag court in right. The ball went just 368 feet with two outs, but that was enough for his first homer and the 2-1 lead.
After right-hander Andrew Cashner pitched seven scoreless tonight, Toronto broke through for an unearned run in the eighth against reliever Miguel Castro.
Tonight it was a matter of which team would get a huge hit first or crack on defense to break a 0-0 tie. The Orioles cracked. A single to right by Yangervis Solarte should have left runners on first and third but a throwing error allowed a Blue Jays run to score for the 1-0 lead. Right fielder Anthony Santander threw the ball high and over the cutoff man's head and the ball caromed off catcher Chance Sisco and into the Toronto dugout. The error produced the game's first run.
No-hit through seven innings on 82 pitches by Aaron Sanchez, the Orioles tied it 1-1 in the eighth but they could have had more. Tim Beckham hit a hot smash through the legs of third sacker Josh Donaldson for a double to end the no-hit bid. He advanced to third on Santander's single and scored on Sisco's double to right which left runners on second and third. But after a Trey Mancini fly out, Manny Machado was walked intentionally. Jonathan Schoop then bounced into a double play to end the inning on Sanchez's 98th pitch.
Cashner had a second straight strong start for the Orioles. He pitched seven scoreless allowing just four singles. He walked three and fanned six throwing 104 pitches 61 for strikes.
Over his past two starts, which includes an outing in New York, he has thrown 13 innings allowing six hits and one run. His ERA is 2.50 through his first three Oriole starts. Cashner tonight recorded his sixth career start of seven or more scoreless innings and his first since Sept. 15, 2014. He now has a 2.36 ERA in 13 career starts versus AL East teams.
He and Dylan Bundy have combined to allow two runs over 14 innings in this series. They certainly provided a very taxed bullpen some much-needed rest.
In the series finale on Wednesday night here, it's right-hander Kevin Gausman (0-1, 8.00 ERA) pitching against right-hander Marco Estrada (1-0, 2.77 ERA).
Some postgame quotes:
Cashner on his strong outing: "I thought I just moved my fastball all around and up and down. Had command away and good sink on the ball. Kept them off balance with offspeed. Every night you have to be sharp. He's (Sanchez) got one of the best sinkers in baseball and you just try to match what he's doing and give us a chance to win."
Cashner on being in a pitchers' duel: "Kind of feel like this is how it's been my whole career. In San Diego, I really didn't have a lot of run support and you know that every pitch means something. Not to say it doesn't sometimes. But for me, you're more invested in every pitch just because you know it's going to be a tight game all night."
Cashner on blocking a grounder up the middle with his right foot: "I don't know why I did that. Kind of dumb and my foot hurts right now, but it was a free out."
Schoop on Sanchez: "Sanchez was good, he was on his game. Made some pitches. We scored on him and I had a chance to do damage but grounded into a double play. Cashner was good, but they won today."
Schoop on the club's offensive struggles: "Things are not going our way right now, but we come here and work and try to win. That is all we can do. Show up and work hard and go out there and play hard. We'll keep working and it will get better."
Schoop on his own struggles, going 2-for-27 the last six games: "I'm struggling a little bit. But been coming in early and doing work and it's going to get better. Hope it's tomorrow. Right now, come in and work hard and try to win."
Sisco on Cashner's strong outing: "Command. Pounding the zone. Fastball command and his slider was really good. Changeup and curveball (where there) when he needed it. We were working in and out, up and down with his fastball and that really opened up the door for a lot of other things."