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Bullpen loses it, Blue Jays move closer to title


Bullpen loses it, Blue Jays move closer to title

BALTIMORE— In his first five starts to the Toronto Blue Jays, Chris Tillman gave up 31 runs in 18 innings. His sixth was a vast improvement, but the normally stout back end of the Orioles bullpen let him down.

Heading to the eighth, Tillman allowed just one run, and the Orioles had a two-run lead. Darren O’Day allowed an inherited run, and Brad Brad Brach gave up a run in the ninth, and the Orioles had their fourth straight loss.

Toronto’s 4-3 win over the Orioles before 19,093 at Oriole Park on Monday night, gave the Blue Jays a magic number of two to clinch the American League East.

If Toronto (91-65) beats the Orioles (76-80) on Tuesday and the Boston Red Sox again defeat the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays will have their first AL East title since 1993.

The Orioles have fallen into a third place tie with Boston and now must win their final six games for the fourth straight winning season.

“It's important for the Orioles to win a game every night regardless of what the consequences are. It's important for us every night to win a game. You don't think about the consequences of a loss,” manager Buck Showalter said.

“You try to do everything you can, We were very close tonight. Some good people for us who have done a good job for us, and some good people for them who have done a real good job. Tonight they did a little better job than we did.”

Edwin Encarnacion’s 36th home run, to start the second, was the the first Toronto run, and also the 10th homer Tillman gave up to Toronto. He’s allowed 10 in each of his 25 other starts.

Ryan Flaherty’s three-run home run off Marco Estrada in the second inning ended the Orioles’ scoreless streak at 29, four short of the 1957 club record.

Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop had one-out singles in the second, and Flaherty followed with a home run to left on Estrada’s first pitch.

It was Flaherty’s ninth of the season.

The Orioles had an awful weekend in Boston, suffering three straight shutouts, but after the second inning, they had just one hit, Wieters’ fourth-inning single.

Estrada, Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna retired the final 17 Orioles hitters.

In their last four games, the Orioles have just 15 hits.

“Part of that is you have to credit the other guy who is on the mound. We’ve had some tough pitchers. Estrada was really pounding the zone. Anytime he wanted to throw a strike, he threw a strike,” Wieters said.

“A hundred pitches he threw but it wasn’t too high. Part of the credit goes to the other pitcher. The other thing is when you get a mistake, you have to do damage.”

Tillman allowed two singles in the fourth, but was helped out when Encarnacion hit into a double play.

Ryan Goins led off the eighth with a single, and after Justin Smoak grounded out, Darren O’Day relieved Tillman.

O’Day allowed consecutive singles by Ben Revere, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista to tie the score at three.

In 18 at-bats against Tillman, Bautista has four home runs and nine RBIs.

Tillman allowed two runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings. He won’t have a winning record this season, but with perhaps one start left, Tillman hopes that his final starts can give him something positive to finish on.     

“It’s important. Everyone feels that way. Every time I get the ball I go out and try to do the best I can. I’m not doing anything different. I’m just getting results I want right now. I think that comes with making good pitches and I’d like to keep it going. But I don’t try and harder or any less any game I go out there,” Tillman said.

Estrada, who allowed three runs on four hits in 7 1/3, was relieved by Cecil (5-5) in the eighth. He recorded three outs.

Smoak’s slow roller to first scored pinchrunner Dalton Pompey in the ninth. Brach (5-3), who allowed hits to Dioner Navarro and Kevin Pillar to start the inning, had the loss.

“It’s always frustrating, especially when you do exactly what you want. You want them to hit a ground ball to first there, but they did just slowly enough to score the run,” Brach said.

Osuna recorded the final two outs for his 20th save.

NOTES: The Orioles have reached agreement with LHP Alex Wells, pending a physical and also signed RHP Mike Zouzalik from the independent St. Paul Saints. Zouzalik was 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 39 games. He’s also pitched in the Texas organization. ...Miguel Gonzalez (9-11, 4.85) returns from the disabled list to start on Tuesday night against Marcus Stroman (3-0, 1.89).

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Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7


Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.

The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.

Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.

Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."

Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."

Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."

Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.

The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.

Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.

Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.

Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.

Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.

Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.

Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.

Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings

The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.