The Orioles finally get a decent stretch of games at home and they go 5-5 before heading back on the road.
They’re also .500 against the Blue Jays after today’s 5-2 loss before a sellout crowd at Camden Yards.
“They’re a really good team and there’s no secret why they’re there,” said manager Buck Showalter. “They’re very athletically talented and their pitching has really been solid. We knew that. I think the team everybody thought they might be last year, they are this year.
“We’d like to do better against a team that good, but I’m sure they would, too, have liked to have done better. There’s a lot of baseball left.”
The rotation has produced seven consecutive quality starts, posting a 1.54 ERA, but they doesn’t always equate to wins. It’s got to become frustrating for a team trying to gain ground in its division.
“Well, there’s two ways to look at it,” Showalter said. “If you go through a little spell and you’re not swinging the bats well, your pitching allows you to stay competitive to that point. So it just depends how you want to look at it. But you’d like to have both of them clicking. But we haven’t been able to do that consistently yet.”
Chris Tillman allowed three runs over seven innings and came out after 92 pitches.
“Good, good. He pitched pretty well,” Showalter said. “It took a lot of energy, but I thought he presented himself well and had given us everything he could give us at that point. Especially where they were in the order. I felt like he had done his job. We just need to do a little better job behind him. We just didn’t score enough runs. It doesn’t really matter what happened after the fact.”
Tommy Hunter allowed two runs in the eighth, walking two batters and throwing 10 of his 20 pitches for strikes.
“He’s wanting to contribute so bad,” Showalter said. “We’re going to need Tommy to contribute like he did last year in this role, because he was really good at it last year. If I know Tommy, he’ll make the adjustments and contribute, but there were a lot of things that went on today other than Tommy.
“J.A. Happ was really good. He’s always capable of that. And unfortunately, he put together a really good game, established the fastball on both sides and breaking ball. We had one opportunity early to do some things, but we never really mounted a whole lot off him. And we know their bullpen’s solid.”
Showalter chose to let Nick Hundley hit with a runner on base and two outs in the seventh, and again with a runner on and two outs in the ninth. Hundley struck out in both at-bats.
Showalter indicated that he wanted to avoid using Chris Davis until the slugger represented the tying run. Davis put on his helmet while Jonathan Schoop batted in the ninth with the Orioles trailing 5-2, but a fielder’s choice grounder kept him from stepping to the plate.
Orioles pitchers didn’t record a strikeout for the first time since May 27, 2010 against the Athletics. It’s the 86th such game in club history.