The Orioles return to Baltimore after a challenging and puzzling road trip. They were 3-4 after a one-game stop in Boston and three games each at Tampa Bay and Toronto.
After Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the Orioles (61-56) are 1 ½ games behind Toronto for the final wild-card spot and a half-game behind the Minnesota Twins, who have won three in a row.
The Orioles lost a one-run game in Boston, two of three to the Rays and defeated the Blue Jays in the first two games.
In Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Rays, the Orioles didn’t have a baserunner for eight innings. In the final games against Toronto, they didn’t have one for six innings. It’s a concerning trend as they return home.
Oriole starter Austin Voth pitched a season-high six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out three and throwing 86 pitches. Voth kept the Orioles in the game against Toronto starter Ross Stripling (6-3), who threw six perfect innings.
“Hopefully, he can continue to build,” manager Brandon Hyde told reporters in Toronto. “He’s been doing that since he got here, pitching well and keeping us in games. I thought he threw the ball well today.”
Voth has a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts with the Orioles.
“I prefer to be in the starting rotation,” Voth said. “I prefer to be out there as long as I can.”
Cedric Mullins led off the seventh with a single to end Stripling’s perfect game. Aftter Anthony Santander grounded to second, Yimi Garcia (2-4) replaced Stripling and recorded two outs.
“A really good pitching matchup. Both guys threw the ball well at the start of the game,” Hyde said. “We just didn’t square many balls up against [Stripling].”
In the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Jays (62-54) sent 11 batters to the plate, and six scored.
Joey Krehbiel (4-4) allowed two runs and recorded just one out. Cionel Pérez allowed a season-high three runs without retiring a batter. Louis Head allowed the sixth run.
An RBI single by pinch-hitter George Springer began the scoring. Two-run doubles by Santiago Espinal and Alejandro Kirk broke open the game.
It was a rare meltdown by the Orioles’ bullpen, which had a 3.05 ERA entering the game.
“That’s going to happen,” Hyde said. “I brought in [Pérez], the best guy available, who throws 99-100, and he got beat with an 0-2 pitch. It unraveled after that. Our bullpen has pitched extremely well. Besides that inning, we pitched extremely well this series. I’m pleased with how we played. We got out of here with a series win.”
Catcher Robinson Chirinos drove home a run with a single in the eighth to prevent a shutout. The Orioles were limited to four hits. In the seventh, with Mullins at third and two out in a scoreless game, Austin Hays struck out and slammed his bat to the ground, a picture of the Orioles’ frustration.
The Orioles play the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, then face the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox in three-game series. The Orioles and Red Sox play in the Little League Classic on Sunday at Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“We win two out of three, it’s tough to be disappointed,” Hyde said. “You lose the third one after winning the first two, that’s when it’s disappointing. If you split the first two and then you win the third, everybody’s celebrating. We’re happy with the series win, unhappy we couldn’t finish it off today.”
Notes: Infielder Gunnar Henderson and right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez are in the top four of MLB.com’s MLB Pipeline top 100 prospect list. Henderson is rated second, Rodriguez is fourth and the top pitcher. Shortstop Jackson Holliday, the first overall pick in last month’s draft, is 14th. Outfielder Colton Cowser (43), infielder Jordan Westburg (80) and left-handed pitcher DL Hall (92) are also on the list. … Spenser Watkins (4-2, 4.23) will face Adrian Sampson (0-3, 3.88) on Thursday at 3:05 p.m.