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The Schmuck Stops Here
Peter Schmuck's musings on the local and national sports scene
Sports The Schmuck Stops Here

After Orioles loss, no consolation is necessary

If you're looking for consolation after what had to feel like the most devastating loss of the season Friday night, you might want to consider that the Orioles had no business even being in the game in the ninth inning.

They didn't get a hit until the sixth inning, and when they did generate scoring opportunities in the late innings, they didn't do very much with them.

But let's be honest, Ubaldo Jimenez should have driven right to Atlantic City after he left the game. He struggled with his control throughout and walked the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth inning before Mark Teixeira inexplicably lunged at the first pitch and rescued him with a groundout to first base.

It's tempting to look back on the ninth inning and blame Zach Britton for that fat pitch to Carlos Beltran, but the game was lost because the Yankees had too many opportunities to take a big swing in the game, and they finally took advantage of one.

Sometimes, it's hard not to marvel at the way the heart of an opposing batting order seems to come up in the ninth inning of a close game, but you don't have to do that here. Carlos Beltran would have been sitting on the bench at crunch time if Darren O'Day hadn't come into a clean eighth inning with two outs and given up two hits before getting off the hook.

That set up the top of the Yankees order to face Britton in the ninth, who had two outs and a runner on before giving up a run-scoring single to Brian McCann and walking Teixeira to put the potential winning run on base. Once again, it was an inopportune walk that really did the Orioles in.

After T.J. McFarland delivered one of the best outings of his career, six of the last nine Yankees batters reached base against the Orioles' two top relievers. Though it's hard to fault O'Day and Britton when both are having terrific seasons so far, it isn't too tough to see that this loss was no great injustice.

The Orioles allowed 18 base runners and somehow were in the ninth inning with a lead after another light offensive performance. They were just waiting to lose, and the clock didn't run out fast enough.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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