BALTIMORE—As August ends, it’s harder and harder to imagine the Orioles as a postseason team. Throughout the first five months of the season, the Orioles would have been a postseason team had the season ended on that day.
After losing two of three to the American League East leading Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles are not only four games in back of Toronto, but they’re now tied with Detroit for the second wild card.
They ended August with a 13-16 record thanks to a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays before 16,161 at Oriole Park on Wednesday.
The Orioles (72-61) received three quality starts in their critical three-game series against Toronto (76-57). They lost two of those games.
Not only was the result disappointing, but so were the crowds. The series drew just 47,775.
In the latest installment, Yovani Gallardo allowed three runs in the first inning, then pitched well, but the Orioles could do little with Aaron Sanchez and the bullpen.
“It’s tough, because we’re chasing them and they take two out of the three. We’ve just got to learn from it, get a good off-day tomorrow and come back stronger than we were. With September coming in, we’ve just got to compete and play hard and try to win as many games as possible,” Jonathan Schoop said.
On Monday, Wade Miley gave up three runs in seven innings in a 5-1 loss, and Ubaldo Jimenez also allowed three in 6 2/3 innings as the Orioles won 5-3.
“I was really impressed with that, really proud of them. But it’s tough. It’s kind of frustrating. We’ve got some quality starting pitching and we were in them. The tack-on runs were tough,” Showalter said.
Jose Bautista hit Gallardo’s first pitch for his 17th home run, and with two outs, Michael Saunders walked, and Russell Martin hit his 16th home run, and Toronto grabbed a 3-0 lead.
Gallardo (4-7), who was won just one of 12, settled down and retired the last 10 batters he faced. He allowed three runs on five hits in six innings.
“The first inning, the first pitch of the game, they took advantage of it,” Gallardo said.
“The one to Russell Martin, I didn’t think he got it that good. Unfortunately, it went out. It was just one of those things that was frustrating. It’s never easy for those guys to come from behind, especially in the first inning, giving up three runs in the first inning. After that I was able to put up zeroes, put up zeroes and make pitches whenever I had to, get some ground balls, get out of some tough jams.”
Sanchez (13-2) allowed just two singles and walked two runners in the first four innings.
With two outs in the fifth, Hyun Soo Kim and Schoop singled with Kim taking third. Manny Machado hit a slow roller to third that Josh Donaldson booted for an error.
The Blue Jays had sent Sanchez to the minor leagues for 10 days to limit his innings.
He allowed just the unearned run on five hits in six innings.
Mychal Givens allowed a run in the seventh on an RBI double by Devon Travis, and Saunders hit his 23rd home run of the year against Brad Brach in the eighth. It was Saunders’ seventh home run in 15 games against the Orioles this season.
Schoop’s 21st home run of the year, a two-run shot off Roberto Osuna with two outs in the ninth made it 5-3.
The Orioles have now lost five consecutive series to AL East opponents, and 22 of their final 28 are against their division foes. The losing troubles Showalter.
“Of course it does. We got a month of baseball left. We got through a tough, we knew August was going to be tough, did some good things but not as many as we would have liked. We got an opportunity. A lot of baseball to be played. Anybody who sells us short doesn’t get the essence of our players. That’s fine. They’ve been doing that all year to us,” Showalter said.
NOTES: The Orioles hit 55 home runs in August, tying the major league record for most home runs in the month. … After Thursday’s off day, the New York Yankees come for three games beginning Friday night. Chad Green (2-3, 4.09) faces Dylan Bundy (7-5, 3.71) in the first game. On Saturday, it will be CC Sabathia (8-11, 4.31) against Kevin Gausman (6-10, 3.73). Michael Pineda (6-11, 5.12) against Miley (8-11, 5.43) on Sunday.