Another Orioles' loss ended with Oakland Athletics' right fielder David DeJesus bobbling Nick Markakis' single before recovering and making a great throw to get pinch runner and potential tying run Blake Davis at the plate.
Aside from DeJesus' bobble and A's closer Andrew Bailey giving up the hit to Markakis, it was a quality baseball play all around. Davis, who was pinch-running for J.J. Hardy, never broke stride and I thought third base coach Willie Randolph's aggressive send was an appropriate one. DeJesus made a strong throw and Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki, Davis' teammate at Cal State Fullerton, did well to block the Oriole off the plate and apply the game-ending tag.
"The first thing on my mind, for me, was seeing where that ball was going to be but trying to go around him," said Davis. "He ended up blocking the plate. Looking back, it probably would have been a better idea to just go right into him, especially being the tying run."
As usual for the Orioles, the game should have never come down to that as the visitors took turns either sleep walking or bumbling their way through the game's early innings.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones got a bad jump on Hideki Matsui's blooper in the first inning, and then misplayed Brandon Allen's long drive to center in the third. Allen scored on the play when he should have only gotten a triple.
Left fielder Nolan Reimold played Josh Willingham's liner to left into a two-run double in the first. Mark Reynolds was thrown out curiously trying to steal second in a three-run game in the fourth, and then Hardy cost his team a baserunner when he didn't run hard out of the box in the sixth, allowing rookie second baseman Jemile Weeks to boot the ball and recover in time to get the out. Markakis followed with a solo homer, making that play loom even larger.
Asked about his team's sloppy play and whether they were ready to play today, Jones said, "I'd never say that I don't think anybody is ever not ready for a game. Everybody has their own style on how they play, and if they get ready or not. We just have to come out with more fire, especially in day games. I know we're all tired, probably didn't get that much sleep. The same goes for them. You have to come out ready to play and try to get yourself real hyped three hours before the game."
And not to be outdone, Alfredo Simon pitched poorly, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits, including two homers by Suzuki, while walking two and striking out three over 5 1/3 innings. Simon attributed some of his problems to "bad luck" and pointed out Reimold's misread of the ball on two different occasions.
But the fact remains that in his last three starts, Simon is 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA, and has allowed 16 runs (13 earned) on 29 hits, four homers and five walks over 15 2/3 innings. I'd say there is a little more to it than "bad luck."
Just a couple of quick post-game injury notes: Despite getting lifted for a pinch runner in the ninth and appearing to favor his left ankle at different times in the game, Hardy said that he was fine.
"I don't know about that," said Hardy when he was asked about favoring his ankle. Orioles manager Buck Showalter did say that Hardy looked a little "dead-legged." "I definitely believe that Blake is faster than I am. There's nothing wrong with that. I think it was definitely the right play, the tying run. There's a better chance that Blake scores than I do."
Asked again about his ankle, which forced him out of the Orioles' lineup for a couple of games earlier this month, Hardy said that it was fine, but he was looking forward to tomorrow's off day.
Also, Jeremy Guthrie (right shoulder stiffness) will likely be pushed back to Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Showalter. As I wrote earlier, Jo-Jo Reyes will pitch Friday's series opener in Anaheim, followed by Tommy Hunter on Saturday. Brian Matusz and Zach Britton will likely start Sunday and Monday, though their order has been set yet.