One of the more critical moments in the Orioles’ 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Athletics tonight occurred in the 10th, when Nelson Cruz broke for home with two outs and Chris Davis at the plate. If he’s safe, the Orioles win.
It wasn’t really close.
The game continued into the 11th and the A’s pushed across the go-ahead run.
“I thought I had a shot,” Cruz said. “Obviously, I wanted to let Davis hit with two strikes. I thought I had a shot, so I went for it.”
Cruz had moved pretty far down the line on the previous pitch from Oakland left-hander Fernando Abad.
“Yeah, yeah. The attempt was there,” Cruz said. “The third baseman was way over there. I just wanted to be aggressive and get something going.”
Cruz said he didn’t hear from manager Buck Showalter or third base coach Bobby Dickerson.
“No. It was there. It was in front of everybody,” he said.
“I thought I had a chance.”
J.J. Hardy’s fourth error in two nights occurred in the 11th when he took a glance at John Jaso running to third while trying to field Alberto Callaspo’s grounder. Hardy clearly became distracted.
“Yeah, I’ve got to watch the ball in, make sure there’s an out there,” he said. “I tried to be too quick and was thinking about throwing to third.
“I can’t explain it. It’s really frustrating.”
How will he rebound from these past two nights?
“Go out there and catch the ball,” he said. “(Last night) wasn’t even in the back of my mind. I got past it. Yesterday was in the past. I just can’t do that.
“I was looking to throw the ball to third. Took my eye off the ball. I just can’t do that.”
Third baseman Manny Machado sympathized with Hardy.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s a tough couple days for him. That sucks. You’ve got a Gold Glover over there, but knowing him, he’s going to keep his head up and continue fighting. It’s a long season still ahead and there’s a lot of baseball to be played still. Obviously you’re pissed off at the moment, but you’ve just got to put it behind you like he does with all the other ones, put it behind you. But tomorrow’s another day.”
Machado explained why he took exception with third baseman Josh Donaldson’s tag in the third.
“Didn’t agree on the tag,” he said. “Right play, he made the right play, but just didn’t agree on the tag that he made on me and I just had to get up and confront him. You get in the heat of the moment and things start flying. It’s part of the game and you’re going to have to continue.
“I mean, I just didn’t agree with it. I think he could’ve done a little bit better job with it. But you know what? Whatever. It is what it is. It’s baseball, it’s part of the game. Now I’m going to put it in the past and play another game tomorrow.”
Donaldson didn’t understand Machado’s reaction.
“I don’t know what happened on his end, but just trying to do my job and play the game of baseball,” Donaldson said. “I’ll let him answer the rest. I think he just said I tagged him too hard. I don’t remember what I said.”
Donaldson also had an opinion on Cruz’s attempt to steal home, saying it surprised him.
“They had one of their best hitters at the plate,” Donaldson said. “I’m glad he (ran).”