Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel walked to the mound tonight with two outs in the fifth inning and a 2-1 count on Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk.
Allowed to stay in a game he already trailed by three runs, Wojciechowski threw a strike and then served up his second homer of the night, which brought manager Brandon Hyde out of the dugout for the anticipated change.
Very little went right for the Orioles.
Wojciechowski wasn’t as sharp as he’s been, for whatever reason, and the Orioles appeared to deal their supply of bats at the deadline in an 11-2 loss to the Blue Jays that began a 10-game homestand.
An offense that scored eight or more runs in four of the last six games on the road trip wasted a bases-loaded, no-out rally in the third and settled for one run in the fifth after putting runners on the corners with no outs. Trey Mancini, surviving the trade deadline as expected, hit his career-high 25th home run in the eighth inning.
Playing before an announced crowd of 9,716, the Orioles followed a 12-12 July by losing the first game in August and dropping to 36-72 overall and 15-37 at home.
Rookie Trent Thornton had registered a 5.45 ERA and 1.535 WHIP in 21 games and averaged 4.1 walks per nine innings. He held the Orioles to one run and five hits in six innings and walked none.
Kids of famous dads staked Thornton to a 3-0 lead. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. delivered a two-run homer in the third after Cavan Biggio singled and Bo Bichette came through with an RBI single with two outs in the fourth.
Guerrero also had an RBI double off Yacabonis in the sixth, scalding a ball down the left field line, and he hit a 450-foot home run off Dillon Tate in the eighth after the rookie retired the first six batters. Statcast set the exit velocity on the curveball at 114 mph.
Tate hit Teoscar Hernández with two outs in the eighth and Billy McKinney homered, the fifth launched by the Blue Jays tonight.
Wojciechowski retired the first two batters in the fifth before Grichuk took a slider for a ride. Grichuk has hit nine home runs in 23 games against the Orioles.
Guerrero’s first homer came on an 80 mph curveball, with center fielder Stevie Wilkerson making a futile leap at the fence.
Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer off Yacabonis in the sixth for a 7-1 lead. A 93 mph fastball traveled 430 feet to left field, per Statcast, with an exit velocity of 108.9 mph.
The five home runs off Orioles pitching upped their total to 212. They’ve surrendered five in 14 games.
Chris Davis followed his tiebreaking home run Tuesday in the eighth inning in San Diego with singles in the third and fifth innings. He struck out in the seventh with two runners on base and no outs.
Alberto was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth and Davis bounced a single into right field. Alberto, who early made a sensational diving catch to rob Grichuk and end the third, came home on Villar’s slow roller.
The Orioles settled. The Blue Jays kept smashing everything thrown to them.
Tate made his Camden Yards debut by replacing Yacabonis in the sixth and he stranded two runners on a comebacker. Tate retired the side in order in the seventh, fielding another comebacker and running his pitch count to only 10.
Guerrero took it upon himself to expand Tate’s education in the majors. A bold move for a kid. And McKinney supplied the finishing touches on Toronto’s assault, forcing another pitching change from Hyde.
José Rondón made his Orioles debut in the seventh by pinch-hitting for Wilkerson with two runners on base and one out following the Davis strikeout. He popped up to the catcher and Villar struck out.
The Orioles have used 51 players, five short of the club record set last year.
Note: Some fans became agitated by a “Trump 2020” banner lowered from the second deck in the eighth inning, chanting “Take it down” while others applauded. Police officers and ballpark officials finally intervened and four people were escorted out of the ballpark.
Update: Wojciechowski was bothered again by a sore right hip, but he’s confident that he can make his next start.
Wilkerson left the game after fouling a ball off his knee. X-rays were negative, but he’s got some swelling.
Alberto fouled a ball of his shin. Also some swelling, also negative X-rays.
“As of right now, they’re probably sore and we’ll see how they are tomorrow,” Hyde said.
Hyde on Wojciechowski: “His hip was a little sore. So he mentioned it the inning before and felt like he could get through another inning. We just noticed his velo dropping down a little bit. And so Broc went out there and he said he felt OK and wanted to finish. A home run later and I got him out of the game.
“Wojo should be OK.”
Hyde on Yacabonis: “It just looked like he was yanking a lot of pitches and had a tough time putting guys away. Lot of deep counts. Almost 40-something pitches and got three outs. Just had a tough time finishing hitters and struggled through his three outs.”
Hyde on Tate: “Dillon Tate’s the highlight of the game for me. I thought he threw the ball great. That was really good stuff. That was three pitches - 95-96 mph sinker. Left the slider in the middle part of the plate to Vlad, but this guy threw 41 pitches (Monday). He had two days off and then today, so he threw two innings, two days off, and then today, extending him way further than I wanted to. But we had multiple guys down in the ‘pen today, so he picked us up big time.
“I loved the stuff that I saw. That last home run is on me. I didn’t want to pitch (Richard) Bleier and I didn’t want to use a position player for the last out.”
Wojciechowski on hip: “I just didn’t feel that great today. The hip was a little sore. I’ve dealt with it in the past. I’ve just got to get to work in the weight room and training room, just get the inflammation calmed down a little bit. But it’s something I’ve pitched through and I’ve dealt with throughout my career and it just came down to I didn’t execute some pitches today.”
Wojciechowski on concern level: “I’m not concerned. Like I said, it’s something I’ve dealt with in the past. I didn’t miss a start earlier this year. I was dealing with it when I was in Columbus. Just really got to work in the training room and just my mobility work and stuff like that. It’s something I’ve dealt with. Today was a day where it didn’t feel that great and I think if I would have executed pitches we wouldn’t be talking about it. So, yeah, I’ll just get to work tomorrow and get ready for the next one on Tuesday.”
Wojciechowski on difference when executing and not executing: “It’s like today, it’s something where I wasn’t really driving off the mound very well and so it was causing my upper half to get rotational and you can see it. My off-speed pitches and my slider weren’t nearly as sharp as they have been. My cutter wasn’t very sharp either. Pitches that I was spinning off and not really getting good downhill direction and getting on top of the pitch. I was getting on top on the side of it.
“Those were the two homers I gave up were pitches that spun in the middle, so that was something today where I just got rotational because I wasn’t really driving off the mound.”