BALTIMORE – For the last three seasons, Chris Tillman has been the Orioles’ best pitcher. He’s been helped by outstanding infield defense, particularly by Manny Machado.
For six innings on Tuesday night, Tillman kept the Orioles in the game, but in the seventh, he and the defense came apart, and in the eighth inning it got worse.
The Orioles’ ugly 10-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 17,319 at Oriole Park had Machado baffled.
He committed a key error in the seventh inning that led to a four-run inning, and his teammates committed two more that led to four more in the eighth.
“That wasn’t us. That wasn’t us. And it kept rolling. That was the inning that we lost the game, and they took advantage of it. It’s part of the game. We collapsed, and they took advantage of it,” Machado said.
Machado, who was covering second on a double play threw wildly to Tillman, covering first. It was his eighth error this season.
Tillman thought he could have made the play.
“I did. We’ve practiced that a ton in spring training and throughout the year and I got there in almost too much time and I went out to get it and it just kind of got away from me,” Tillman said.
“It was a close game through the sixth and I think if I make that play on that double play it’s a close ballgame and we’ve got a chance to win it. I’ve got to make that play and when I didn’t I need to get the next guy out.”
After Justin Smoak got to second on the error, Keon Travis pinch ran for him, and Josh Donaldson singled for a run to make it 3-2. Jose Bautista hit a ground-rule double.
Tommy Hunter replaced Tillman and a run scored on Caleb Joseph’s passed ball. Edwin Encarnacion hit his second home run, a two-run shot, in as many innings, and the Orioles trailed 6-2.
Tillman (2-5) allowed five runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings, and he has a career-high four game losing streak.
“It’s right there, it really is. If I make one more (good) pitch in that game that’s anybody’s ballgame to have,” Tillman said.
As bad as the seventh inning was, it was followed by an equally unsightly eighth. Errors by Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy, a wild pitch by T.J. McFarland and a long two-run home run by Donaldson gave Toronto (17-17) a 10-2 lead.
The team that’s played such sterling defense has suddenly let the Orioles down.
In 2013, the Orioles set a record for fewest errors with 54. Last year, they made 87. They’ve already made 22 in 31 games.
“I've very privileged to watch a lot of really good defensive games played here the last few years. Obviously, tonight wasn’t one of them,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“We’ve been really good at that phase and we weren’t tonight. So, learn from it and try to get back to being more of what we’re capable of. Didn’t do very good out of the bullpen. We’ve been pitching pretty well out of there. Didn’t tonight. That allowed it to kind of get away from us there.”
Mark Buehrle retired the first six Orioles, and then Hardy singled to lead off the third. With two outs, Machado punched a double down the left field line, and Jimmy Paredes extended his hitting streak to 11 games by singling to center.
The 2-0 lead held until the fourth when Chris Colabello’s single to left scored Encarnacion. Tillman had allowed two infield singles in the first three innings.
Encarnacion hit his sixth home run in the sixth to tie the score at 2.
Buehrle (5-2) allowed two runs in six innings.
It was the fourth time the Orioles (14-17) have allowed 10 or more runs, all against the Blue Jays. Buehrle has been the beneficiary in three of those games.
“They’re swinging the bat. We’re not. They’re hitting in key situations, and we’re just making too many errors. Plain and simple, we’re making too many errors. Dumb mistakes that we shouldn’t be doing. It’s not like us,” Machado said. “We just got to play better defense.”
The Orioles may make a roster move. Showalter said that there was a medical issue involving one of the pitchers. Rule 5 draft pick Jason Garcia, who might have ordinarily pitched in a blowout, could be headed to the disabled list, and Mike Wright may be recalled from Norfolk.
NOTES: This was the second time this season the Orioles made three errors in a game. … Tillman has lost five straight against the Blue Jays. … Aaron Sanchez (3-2, 3.62) faces Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 3.57) on Wednesday night.