TORONTO — The new-look Orioles will have their share of growing pains, the first of which cost them the game Friday night in their first contest of the post-Manny Machado era.
The Orioles hit four home runs against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Friday night, including three total in the eighth and ninth innings, sparking a rally from from a five-run eighth-inning deficit to send the game into extra innings, but two costly defensive breakdowns by the new left side of the infield in the 10th led to an 8-7 walk-off loss.
Left-hander Paul Fry was one out away from getting out of the 10th when Russell Martin hit a grounder that went past third baseman Renato Núñez, making his first start with the Orioles after being called up earlier in the day, and to Machado’s successor at shortstop, Tim Beckham. Beckham flipped a throw on the run that took first baseman Chris Davis off the bag, putting the winning run on base.
Two batters later, Aledmys Díaz hit another grounder to the left side. This one that hit off Núñez’s glove and then rolled past Beckham and into left field, enabling Martin to score from second with the winning run.
“We didn’t play well defensively again,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It was a challenge tonight. Hopefully it will get better. ...They’ll get settled in. They’ll get comfortable. First game together. I’ll give them that. It will get better.”
On a night in which the Orioles put together their best offensive performance since July 1, an 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Camden Yards, the club’s majors-worst defense couldn’t hold its end. The Orioles entered the night with minus-90 defensive runs saved, last of the 30 major league teams and 24 runs worse than the next-worst team.
After the game, Beckham — who was making his first start this season as the team’s full-time shortstop after Machado’s departure — took the responsibility for the Orioles’ 10th-inning defensive breakdown.
“The plays tonight, I need to make those plays every time and I definitely will make those plays,” Beckham said. “It sucks it came down like that, but we’ll get them tomorrow. It’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s a tough one. It’s a tough blow right there, but we’ll come back tomorrow and play some winning baseball.”
Said Showalter: “It’s a lot of hindsight. You’ve got a guy running not particularly well down there. If it’s an accurate throw, he’s out. He just got in a little bit of a hurry there. You’ve got to keep that last one in the infield, obviously.”
The Orioles rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off reliever Tyler Clippard, tying the game with solo homers by Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop. Schoop’s homer came with the Orioles down to their final out.
Right-hander Miguel Castro entered a tie game in the bottom of the ninth and allowed a leadoff double into the right-center-field gap by Díaz, who moved to third on Devon Travis’ groundout to third. After walking Curtis Granderson intentionally, Castro struck out Teoscar Hernández for the second out.
Fry was brought in to face Justin Smoak and struck him out on five pitches, getting the left-handed hitter to chase three pitches out of the strike zone.
The Orioles trailed 7-2 entering the top of the eighth inning but chipped away at the Blue Jays’ lead, first on Chris Davis’ two-run homer with two outs, a shot that chased Toronto starter Sam Gaviglio from the game, and then in the ninth on solo blasts by Joseph and Schoop.
After Beckham homered off Gavilgio to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the fifth, starter Dylan Bundy was unable to record a shutdown inning, allowing back-to-back solo homers to open a four-run frame.
“We get that one-run lead and then I give up a solo shot,” Bundy said. “You know your mentality is all right, leave it right there. It’s 2-2 and you’re fine. But wasn’t able to stop the bleeding there and they kept going. So, just need to get the fastball down a bit when I’m trying to go down and away. Get it up more when I’m going up and in.”
Bundy, a right-hander who had a 2.60 ERA in eight starts — six of them quality — before going on the disabled list, has failed to pitch into the sixth inning in any of his past three starts since his return. He allowed five runs in five innings Friday.
In his three starts since returning from an ankle injury suffered while running the bases during a June 23 start in Atlanta, Bundy has a 10.66 ERA, allowing five earned runs in each start. Bundy said he has no lasting effects from the injury.
“No, not at all,” Bundy said. “Ankle has been 100 percent now for quite some time. I just have to get the ball down, like I said. Command the fastball a little better and the off-speed pitches will play a little bit better after that.”
On Friday, Bundy allowed three homers — all solo shots — after allowing just four over his previous six starts combined.
Bundy retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced in his first four innings. Toronto’s only hit over that stretch was on Díaz’s solo homer with one out in the third.
After Núñez, called up from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day, hit a leadoff double in the fifth for his first Orioles hit, Beckham hit a first-pitch hanging slider over the center-field fence to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
That cushion didn’t last long, as Martin hit the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth, an elevated four-seam fastball, over the left-center-field fence to tie the game at 2. Randal Grichuk then followed by tagging a 1-1 elevated four-seamer over the center-field fence, giving the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead.
Bundy couldn’t stop the damage there. He issued a one-out walk to No. 9 hitter Travis and Curtis Granderson then one-hopped a ground-rule double over the left-center-field wall.
Hernández’s sac fly scored Travis, and Smoak’s double down the right-field line scored Granderson
Right-hander Mychal Givens allowed two runs in the seven, one scoring on Travis’ RBI triple and Granderson’s run-scoring single.
Toronto didn’t play an especially clean game either. It allowed a run in the ninth when Trey Mancini opened the inning with a double, moved to third on Granderson’s errant throw to second that hit off Mancini and then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 7-5.
Joseph hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth off Clippard to bring the Orioles within one, and two batters later Schoop lined a delivery from Clippard into the left-field stands.