In extra innings, every pitch becomes magnified, and after the Orioles' painful 8-7 loss to the Cleveland Indians in 13 innings, left-hander Troy Patton replayed one pitch in his mind.
Patton was one strike away from escaping a bases-loaded jam, but he left a 1-2 changeup to Carlos Santana just high enough for the Indians third baseman to turn on it and send it just inside the third-base line for the game-winning hit.
“Location,” Patton said. “It was the right pitch. I got him out in front. He just squeezed it into an area because I left it a little high. ... [It] just stayed up a little bit, and he was able to get enough of the barrel to hook it inside the base. Very close to the desired result right there, but he squeezed it in there.”
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Santana’s two-out, two-run double off Patton broke a 6-6 tie and sent the Orioles (23-22) to their first loss in five extra-inning games this season, ending a 4-hour, 22-minute marathon Thursday in front of an announced 18,894 at Camden Yards.
It was the Orioles' longest game of the season in time and innings.
The Orioles bullpen was resilient despite being without Tommy Hunter, who went on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day, and Brad Brach, who threw a career-high four relief innings Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Zach Britton and Preston Guilmet combined to retire 13 of 14 hitters they faced over 4 1/3 innings before Patton entered to face left-handed hitters Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall with one out in the 13th.
Both hit looping singles off Patton, who then walked Nick Swisher to load the bases. After getting Yan Gomes to fly out to right field, Santana took a 1-2 pitch from Patton down the third-base line and under the leaping feet of third-base umpire Alan Porter to score two runs.
“Both of those two lefties got on weak contact -- on really strange contact -- so I had two guys on before I even knew what was going on,” Patton said. “It was kind of an uphill battle from there.
"I felt real good when I first came back. The last two outings have been a struggle. But other than that, I feel fine. I still feel fine. I’m throwing good pitches. It’s just some bad luck and some bad timing."
After recording six straight scoreless outings, Patton (0-1) has allowed five runs in his past two outings over 1 1/3 innings.
“Just his command's off,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Patton. “He's getting a couple counts in his favor and just hasn't been able to finish the at-bat off. He's got some things that he's capable of that he's just not executing.”
After the game, Showalter retreated to his office to see if the team would need to make another roster move Friday to add a fresh pitcher for the bullpen.
Also, third baseman Manny Machado abruptly left the game before the top of the 12th inning with right groin stiffness. Showalter and Machado called the move precautionary.
The Indians (23-25) arrived at Camden Yards after winning another 13-inning game the previous day in Cleveland against the Detroit Tigers and looked like a tired team.
With wild pitching, errant throws and batted balls that fell between outfielders, the Indians gave the Orioles plenty of opportunities early in the game.
The Orioles came within one run in the bottom of the 13th on Nick Markakis’ solo homer, his third of the season, but right-hander Scott Atchison recovered for his first save.
The Orioles have scored 30 runs in their past four games, but they have a 1-3 record in that span.
“The positive aspect is we're swinging the bats better,” Showalter said. “So, you can look at it half-full, half-empty. You'd like to take advantage of that type of offense.”
They were unable to hold a 6-5 lead when right-hander Darren O’Day allowed a tying solo homer to Chisenhall, just the second run that O’Day has allowed in 18 innings this season.