The Orioles have only scored two runs in 21 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, but Saturday night’s 2-1 victory at Camden Yards had the heady feel of one of those extra-inning wins that made 2012 such a magical year. And the Orioles still have a chance to win the series if they can muster some offense against Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle today.
David Lough eventually delivered a game-winning single off Toronto reliever Todd Redmond after Steve Lombardozzi hit a long triple to center field with one out in the 12th inning. It was the Orioles’ first extra-inning game of the year and their first extra-inning victory since they defeated the Boston Red Sox in 12 innings on Sept. 18 last season. They lost their last two extra-inning games in 2013.
The Orioles are now 3-2 in one-run games so far this season and 1-2 in two-run games. So, you don’t need a calculator to figure out that they have won or lost by two runs or fewer in eight of their first 11 games.
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That’s not necessarily a great sign, since manager Buck Showalter said during the spring that the reason closer Jim Johnson struggled at times last year was because of the number of close games that required his services.
New closer Tommy Hunter suffered his first blown save Saturday night after getting the first two outs of the ninth inning. But he had no margin for error when he gave up a solo home run to Colby Rasmus.
The hope was that the explosive and upgraded Orioles offense would tack on more runs and reduce the frequency of high-pressure save opportunities, but the Orioles have only won one game by more than two runs so far.
The offense undoubtedly will wake up sooner or later, but it also wasn’t a great sign that the Orioles did so little against two Blue Jays starters who hadn’t done much until they got to Baltimore this weekend.
Orioles hitters, ironically enough, seem more comfortable against the league’s better starters, as evidenced by their victories this year in games started by Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova, Maybe that bodes well for them against Buehrle, who is 2-0 with an 0.64 ERA in his first two starts.