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Orioles lose first game in crucial series to Toronto


Orioles lose first game in crucial series to Toronto

BALTIMORE—The Orioles began this crucial three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays trailing the American League East leaders by three games. 

After Toronto’s 5-1 win over the Orioles before 15,532 at Oriole Park on Monday night, the Blue Jays (75-56) now lead the East by four games. That’s the biggest deficit of the year for the Orioles (71-60). 

School, which had already begun in many parts of Maryland earlier in the month, began in Baltimore on Monday, and a large crowd was not expected, even for a big game. 

The crowd was actually the smallest since the Orioles and Kansas City Royals drew 14,878 on June 6. 

Many of those who were on hand were Blue Jays fans who had much to cheer about. 

Marco Estrada (8-6) allowed just one run on J.J. Hardy’s third inning home run and four hits in seven-plus innings. It was Hardy’s eighth home run of the year. Estrada exited after Hardy led off the eighth with a single. 

“I don’t think it’s just tonight. We’ve had trouble with him for a while. He locates his pitches, kind of right on the top. His fastball is sneaky. He can elevate it. He can pitch down with it, and his changeup is a really tough pitch,” Hardy said. 

Manager Buck Showalter observed just before the All-Star Game how impressed he was with Estrada, who was named to the AL All-Star team, but unable to participate because of back soreness.

“He’s one of those guys, he’s been doing it for two years, really. He’s one of those guys you know what he’s going to do and he’s still able to do it,” Showalter said.

The lead was short lived as Josh Donaldson, the first Blue Jay to reach base after Wade Miley retired the first 10, homered. It was Donaldson’s 34th of the season. 

Troy Tulowitzi singled later in the inning to drive in Edwin Encarnacion for a 2-1 lead. 

Jose Bautista hit his 16th home run to begin the sixth. 

Miley (8-11) had five 1-2-3 innings, and allowed three runs on five hits in the other two innings. 

“Wade was good. Mixed in a lot of different looks and gave us a good chance. A good seventh inning to get one more inning out of him,” Showalter said. “He had a real good chance to win the game. We just didn’t do much against Estrada,” Showalter said. 

Miley, who works more quickly than any other starter in the majors, walked two and struck out nine, six of them called. 

He was helped out in the first inning when Nolan Reimold, playing center field in place of the ailing Adam Jones, ran down Donaldson’s long fly, crashed into the wall and fell, but quickly go up. 

“I felt like I threw the ball a lot better. Had a lot better command of my fastball. Made a couple of mistakes to Donaldson. Both the first at-bat and the second at-bat. I got lucky on the first one. Reimold made a great play out there. The second one, I just didn’t locate the fastball,” Miley said. 

“I think the umpire had a good strike zone. Maybe a little more pitcher friendly. But he was consistent on both sides. He was great. Obviously it’s a great lineup over there. You don’t really get a lot of breaks, just got to make some pitches.” 

Jones has missed three games because of a strained left hamstring, and he’s nearly ready to return. Jonathan Schoop batted leadoff for the first time in his career, and was hitless in four at-bats. 

Joe Biagini relieved Estrada after Hardy’s single, and retired all three batters he faced. 

Toronto added two runs in the ninth off Tommy Hunter, pitching in Baltimore for the first time since July 30, 2015. Justin Smoak’s RBI single and Devon Travis’ infield out scored the runs. 

Joaquin Benoit retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.

Two weeks ago, the Orioles were tied for the AL East lead, but since then they’ve lost nine of 14 and four games in the standings. 

“Obviously these games are important, but we’ve just got to go out there and not put too much pressure on ourselves. They’re big games, but we’re just going to go out there and try to win,” Hardy said. 

“I know everyone in this clubhouse knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we’re not going to give up. We’re going to go out there every single night trying to win, and that’s what we’ve got to do.” 

NOTES: Neil Berry, believed to be the oldest living Oriole, died last Wednesday at 94. Berry played five games for the first Orioles team in 1954. … J.A. Happ (17-4, 3.19) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (5-11, 6.62) on Tuesday night. 


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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm