Very quickly, the Orioles were down by 10 runs to the Toronto Blue Jays, and even though they cut the deficit in half, it was another lopsided loss.
Toronto’s 10-5 win over the Orioles at Sahlen Field in Buffalo on Friday night was the third bad loss in the first four games of the season-ending road trip.
The Orioles lost the first two games to the Boston Red Sox 8-3 and 9-1 before winning 13-1 on Thursday night.
In games decided by five runs or more, the Orioles are 7-12, which is also their record in one-run games.
The Orioles are 24-34 with two games left in the 60-game 2020 season.
Starter Jorge López allowed eight runs on nine hits in two-plus innings. López, who was acquired on waivers from Kansas City on August 9th, was 2-2 with a 6.69 ERA with the Orioles.
“I thought for the most part he’s pitched very, very well here,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s unfortunate that he ends his season with this start because I feel like there’s been a lot of positives he’s shown over the last month.”
The Orioles think López can compete for a back end of the rotation spot next spring.
“Tonight wasn’t his night,” Hyde said. “These guys have been swinging the bat well, and they hit the ball hard.
“I like the adjustments that he’s made since he’s gotten here … He’s made some really good starts for us, and we do like his stuff.”
López is looking forward to 2021.
“I feel like I have to keep improving,” López said. “Each outing, I’ve tried to show how consistent I can [be]. Little things I can fix are mechanical.
“You never know, man. I’m happy with the organization and the opportunity they’ve given me and, hopefully, next year I’ll come back.”
Oriole nemesis Randal Grichuk started a six-run second inning, equaling the most runs allowed in an inning this season, with a home run. It was Grichuk’s 18th home run in 38 games against the Orioles.
Danny Jansen’s RBI single, Jonathan Villar’s sacrifice fly, Bo Bichette’s run-scoring single, and a two-run base hit by Teoscar Hernadez made it 6-0 after two.
RBI singles by Jonathan Davis and Villar increased Toronto’s lead to 8-0 in the third.
Travis Shaw’s two-run home run against Thomas Eshelman in the fourth put the Orioles behind 10-0.
Toronto starter Taijuan Walker set down the first nine Orioles in order and, because he’s getting ready for the postseason, Nate Pearson relieved him and recorded four outs.
Shun Yamaguchi gave up the four Orioles runs — back-to-back home runs by Ramón Urias, his first in the majors, and Cedric Mullins in the fifth, and a home run by Austin Hays and an RBI double by Hanser Alberto that scored Rio Ruiz in the sixth.
Mullins’ infield out in the ninth scored Alberto
Alberto and Ryan Mountcastle each had two hits.
Urias hopes for chance: Urias has started at second base and shortstop this week after rejoining the Orioles. In two stints with the Orioles, he’s 8-for-21 (.381).
A waiver claim from St. Louis at the beginning of spring training who missed time because of shin splints, Urias hopes he’s making a case to come back in 2021.
“During spring training, I wasn’t able to show them anything,” Urias said through a translator. “What I’m trying to do is take advantage of this opportunity right now and show them that I can be here.”
Most Valuable Oriole vote: Voting for the Most Valuable Oriole was a tricky process. I can’t remember any vote that took longer to decide.
I voted for rightfielder Anthony Santander, who won. My second choice was shortstop José Iglesias, and my third choice was relief pitcher Tanner Scott.
For most of the past two weeks, I was leaning toward a vote for Iglesias. Manager Brandon Hyde passionately explained how much better the Orioles are with Iglesias in the lineup.
The vote was more difficult because three of the leading candidates — Santander, Iglesias and Ryan Mountcastle — didn’t play the entire season.
Santander suffered a season-ending oblique injury in his 37th game. Iglesias, who missed time with quadriceps and wrist injuries, played his 38th game on Friday night. Mountcastle, who didn’t play his first game until August 21st, has played in 33.
With Iglesias starting at shortstop, the Orioles are 11-10. Although he’s been a strong hitter, his play at short has been affected by his quad injury. His defensive WAR is a career worst -.2.
Santander was excellent when he played. When Iglesias missed three additional games after he was hit by a pitch that bruised his left wrist, I decided to vote for Santander.
The choice of Scott over Mountcastle was a narrow one, too. Scott’s season has been outstanding. He’s allowed just 10 hits in 20 1/3 innings, and he’s the player who has shown the most improvement.
Mountcastle has been terrific, far better at bat, on the field and on the bases than expected. The guess here is that he’ll be in the Most Valuable Oriole conversation for many years to come.