Two games against the Red Sox and Yankees.
Two heartbreaking losses.
Read my last post to get the rundown on what happened in Boston. But what happened last night was just as painful to watch, even though you could argue that the Orioles should have never been in the opportunity to win the game in the first place.
Remember Bartolo Colon? 2005 Cy Young Award Winner? I'll always be partial to him since he was an Expo for a brief period of time -- and that trade crippled the Expos/Nationals since they gave up Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore to get him for three months in which they weren't going to get to the post-season anyway. Thanks, Omar Minaya.
Anyway, Colon pitched 8 innings of 3 hit baseball opposite Zach Britton, who pitched 7 innings of 1 run baseball (and that run was unearned, BTW). So Joe Girardi pulls Colon after 8 innings and 85 pitches to get his future hall of fame closer Mariano Rivera into the game. Just as Mike Flanagan and Jim Thorne are going over the worse-than-expected career numbers Rivera has against the Orioles, he blows the save, allowing a sac fly to Vlad Guerrero which ties the game 1-1.
It was an exciting comeback after a devastating loss in Boston. But they hadn't won the game just yet.
The O's went quietly in the bottom of the 10th, and the 11th is where it got interesting. Luis Ayala was on the mound of the Yankees, and Felix Pie lead off the inning with a single. Adam Jones sacrificed him over. Nick Markakis was walked. Guerrero hits a hard grounder to Alex Rodriguez, who fields the ball but is unable to make the throw. Bases loaded, 1 out.
What happens next will go down in infamy. Luke Scott has one of the worst at bats of his career, striking out on a slider down and away. I think it actually bounced into the catcher's glove. And then Matt Wieters flied out to end the inning.
After Jim Johnson retired the Yankees for the second straight inning, the O's had another chance to win the game, facing a Yankees relief pitcher who was making his MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT. This game was prime for the taking.
JJ Hardy and Mark Reynolds both struck out. Noesi was dealing. But wait. Robert Andino walks. Pie singles. Andino moves to third. During Adam Jones' at-bat, Pie nabs second although it's defensive indifference. Jones then walks to load the bases. Nick Markakis comes to bat. Nick, who's had a slow start to the season (even though you could say it's not even the start of the season anymore, being May 18th and all, Nick is having what is called a "down year") has a chance to come up big and win the game.
Nick takes the first pitch for a ball. Wait. You mean that pitch ten inches off home plate was a strike? Are you kidding me? Now that Nick's head is all messed up, he weakly swings at the next pitch in the dirt. If ever there was a sound effect to accompany a swing, that one would deserve a big juicy fart. Down 0-2, Nick takes the next pitch for a ball and then grounds out weakly.
So if you're counting, that's two, TWO chances blown to win the game with bases loaded. At this point I am headed to bed. If the O's hadn't won the game yet, then they're not going to win the game plain and simple. So I head to bed, but turn the game back on. Jeremy Accardo luckily gets out of the inning with the bases loaded and Vlad Guerrero leads off with a base hit to start the bottom of the 13th inning. Luke Scott flies out. Wieters grounds out. Hardy is walked intentionally. And here comes Mark Reynolds.
What does he do? Strikes out looking at a ball thrown right down the middle of the plate.
And with that, I turn the TV off and drift off to what is actually a pleasant night's sleep.
The O's went on to lose 4-1. I hear Brandon Snyder made a blunder and got doubled up at first base on a line drive out and Mike Gonzalez beaned a Yankee in the head after he let up a game winning double.
Well hey, he might be worth keeping after all.