If the Blue Jays know anything about this Orioles team – and they’ve showed they do over the past three days in Toronto – it’s that challenging them to make plays defensively is worth the risk. And more often than not, the Blue Jays’ aggressiveness on the bases this series has paid off.
For the third time this series, the Orioles let a single turn into a double, and left fielder Trey Mancini’s slow throw into second base in the sixth inning, put the leadoff man in scoring position. That runner eventually scored to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
Yangervis Solarte seemed satisfied with a single when he hit a ball off the left-field fence, trotting out of the batter’s box. But he then realized he might have a chance for a double and speeded up. Mancini played the ball off the wall but double-clutched the ball and Solarte beat the throw to second base. Solarte would score on Teoscar Hernández’s double.
“I thought we had about three plays we didn’t make today that didn’t show up on the scoreboard,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “They were pretty free with hits today. … Pretty nice. It should have been about — in the major leagues — three errors I thought, but what do I know.”
In Thursday’s extra-inning loss, Hernández set up the winning run by speeding out of the box and challenging left fielder Joey Rickard to throw him out at second. With Hernández at second to open the inning, right-hander Miguel Castro had a slim margin for error, and Hernández would eventually score the winning run.
Earlier that game, Rickard — who had entered in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement for Mancini — made a decision to throw home in the midst of a three-run ninth inning on Aledmys Díaz’s hit to left, giving Díaz second base uncontested and putting runners at second and third. While the throw ensured a run wouldn’t score, it put two runners in scoring position and allowed Randal Grichuk to make it a one-run game on one hit.
Kevin Gausman, who pitched the Orioles’ ninth quality start in 10 games Saturday, didn’t receive much help from his defense, and it adversely affected his box score.
Mancini made an unsuccessful diving attempt to catch Kendrys Morales’ sinking line drive to open the second inning. Gausman stranded Morales at third, but needed a strikeout-throwout double play to escape, getting Grichuk swinging before catcher Chance Sisco threw out Kevin Pillar trying to steal second.
With one on and nobody out in the third, third baseman Danny Valencia couldn’t come up with Gio Urshela’s grounder, the ball hitting off his glove and deflecting to Manny Machado at deep shortstop to put runners at the corners. Solarte would drive in the runner from third with an RBI single that scored the first run of the game.
“There’s a lot of them,” Showalter said. “There were two or three, without mentioning certain plays. There’s just something that doesn’t show up analytically or in the error columns. You can always see them with your eyes.”