BALTIMORE - There was nothing but silence in the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse Tuesday night.
The team entered the day with only a small chance of making the playoffs, yet the players had remained positive, hoping they could finish the 2013 season on a winning streak and slide into the playoffs for a second straight season.
Now, their hopes of a miraculous comeback run are officially over.
The Orioles continued to struggle to score runs, losing their sixth straight game and their 31st one-run game of the season while falling 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings before 16,772 at Camden Yards.
With the Cleveland Indians' 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore (81-76) was mathematically eliminated from earning the second American League Wild Card, its last hope at a playoff berth.
"It's a huge disappointment for us, to say the least," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There were a lot of good things that went on, but it's tough to dwell on it too much right now because we understand what the finished product was supposed to be."
After ending a 15-year playoff drought last season, Baltimore was in position to try to make another run this September. But down the stretch, the Orioles lost too many close games, unlike last season when they won those games.
"This just wasn't our year," Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "We play all the way from February 15th or whenever we started to get to the playoffs. It's hard to think that after how many games we've played since then, we're not going."
The six-game losing streak matches the Orioles' longest of the season.
It was the 21st straight game the Orioles failed to score more than five runs, their longest streak since 1992.
"We know where we want to be, playing games in October," Baltimore starter Chris Tillman said. "And it's disappointing that we are not there. We took some steps in the right direction, some not. I think we got some work to do going forward."
Baltimore scored both of its runs in the matter of minutes.
Brian Roberts and Nate McLouth hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the third to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Baltimore held that lead until the eighth.
Then, the Orioles' ineffectiveness in padding a close lead haunted them again.
Jose Reyes singled off Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman leading off the eighth. Reyes moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a wild pitch.
With two outs, Blue Jays pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa hit a bloop RBI single the opposite way to right off Baltimore reliever Brian Matusz to score Reyes and tie the game 2-2.
DeRosa came through again in the 10th, as he hit the go-ahead RBI single off Orioles reliever Francisco Rodriguez (2-1).
"They got a couple that found holes and we had some situations where we could have expanded the lead and we didn't," Showalter said.
Tillman was in line for his 17th win when he exited. The right-hander gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings. For the fourth time this season, Tillman matched his career-high with nine strikeouts.
He also became the fifth Orioles pitcher since 2001 to throw 200 or more innings in a season.
The Blue Jays bullpen held the Orioles scoreless for 4 1-3 innings, with Sergio Santos (1-1) earning the win and Casey Janssen picking up his 34th save.
McLouth said it was the lineup's lack of runs over the past week that has hurt Baltimore, and it's disappointing that it wasted some good pitching performances, such as Tillman's on Tuesday.
"For some reason, our consistency offensively wasn't there, as it should have been at the end," McLouth said. "We weren't able to consistently score enough runs."
On a night where the Orioles saw their playoff hopes evaporate after remaining competitive all season, Hardy emphasized that Baltimore is a strong team and its best days still lie ahead.
"We still believe we're a good team, and we're going to get better, and these last five games, we're going to go out there and win them," Hardy said. "That's it. It's just our competitive nature that we're just going to keep playing."
- Major League Baseball
- Baltimore Orioles
- Chris Tillman
- Toronto Blue Jays
- J.J. Hardy
- Nate McLouth
- Jose Reyes
- Buck Showalter
- American League
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Brian Matusz
- Casey Janssen
- Francisco Rodriguez (baseball, born 1982)
- Sergio Santos
- Kevin Gausman
- Mark Derosa
- Brian Roberts
- Oriole Park at Camden Yards