The Orioles welcomed one of their biggest rivals in the Toronto Blue Jays to Camden Yards for a three game series. The Orioles against their own division coming into the series were 4-1 with series wins against the Rays and Red Sox but this was truly their first big test in divisional play.
Game One: Blue Jays: 4, Orioles: 3
The series opened up with a pitching matchup of Marcus Stroman vs. Mike Wright. Just from the names, you can guess who would end up pitching better on the night.
Although, Stroman and Wright had very similar stat lines. Stroman went seven innings while allowing three runs on six hits, striking out three and walking one while giving up two home runs. As for Mike Wright, he went six innings allowing three runs on six hits, striking out four, walking three and gave up no home runs.
The scoring started earlier in the game for the Jays with them getting three runs within the first three innings. Manny Machado responded in the bottom of the 4th with his 5th home run on the season, adding to the legend that is Manny Machado.
The Jays came back in the 7th with a Jose Bautista double that scored Michael Saunders to make it 4-1. However, Matt Wieters answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with a two run home run making the score 4-3.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Orioles had two on with one out but were not able to push across either of the runners resulting in a 4-3 final on the night.
Game Two: Orioles: 4, Blue Jays: 3
In the middle game of the three game series, things got a little weirder than Tuesday night.
The Orioles started the scoring right away in the bottom of the 1st with a Manny Machado RBI double plating Joey Rickard to give the O’s an early advantage. Two more runs would cross in the inning for the Orioles to give them a 3-0 lead for the time being.
In the third, Edwin Encarnacion got the Jays offense rolling with an RBI single that scored Michael Saunders.
Josh Donaldson would continue the scoring for Toronto in the 5th inning with a home run to make it a one run game.
In the top of the 7th, Saunders lead off the inning with a double which was immediately followed by a ground out by Donaldson, pushing Saunders to third base. Following that is Jose Bautista, who was robbed of a potential hit by a diving catch made by Adam Jones. Since the ball seemed like it was going to drop, Saunders did not tag up so when Jones made the catch, he had to go back to the bag and was not able to score at the time.
Immediately after that though, Edwin Encarnacion put a double down the line that tied up the game at 3-3.
Going forward to the bottom of the 10th, with two outs, Caleb Joseph sent a double into the right center field gap to keep the inning alive. Joey Rickard was to follow and got an infield single which was able to push Joseph to third base.
Next batter up was Manny Machado who took a walk, his second of the game. Now up is Adam Jones with the bases loaded looking to just get a run home. Luckily for him, the Jays catcher Josh Thole was not able to handle the pitch from Joe Biagini and the O’s won on a walk off passed ball which is the first time in franchise history where that has ever happened.
Game Three: Orioles: 3, Blue Jays: 2
In the series finale, Chris Tillman makes his first start against the Blue Jays on the season; a team he has struggled with in the past for sure.
In his career against the Jays, Tillman is 4-10 with a 5.79 ERA and has allowed 26 home runs to them which is the most he has allowed against any team.
However for Tillman, he was able to go six innings allowing only two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking three.
Things looked pretty rough for him in the first inning though with a Josh Donaldson double that scored Michael Saunders and a bases loaded walk to Justin Smoak that allowed Donaldson to score. Following that though, the Jays bats went silent.
In the bottom half of the inning, Manny Machado answers the way he has been all series: driving in Joey Rickard with a base hit, which made it a 1-1 game.
Moving to the 7th inning, with the bases loaded, J.J. Hardy hit a liner to the Jays amazing defensive center fielder Kevin Pillar who made a solid running catch, but a run still scored on the sacrifice which tied the game up at two.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, who else but Manny?
Machado drove in Joey Rickard, once again, with an RBI double to put the O’s ahead 3-2 right before Zach Britton would come in and close out the game for his fourth save on the season.
This series showed me a few things that can be signs of the Orioles being a tough ball club for opponents to face.
For starters, their two wins in the series came without any home runs which means they were able to manufacture runs and pitch well enough to keep the score low to where home runs are all that necessary.
As for the pitching, it seemed like following a rough inning, they have been coming out and doing well in most of their other innings. The best example of this so far goes back to Vance Worley in the Texas series after he gave up five runs in the 2nd inning but ended up pitching fairly deep into the ball game.
Also, the Orioles and Blue Jays met three times and neither team put up double digit runs totals. These two teams do not meet again until June 9-12 in Toronto so I would definitely expect way more different outcomes to those games.
For right now though, the Orioles will head to Kansas City to face the Royals for three games. Yovani Gallardo and Chris Young are set to go game one followed by Kris Medlen for the Royals and the Orioles not yet announcing a starter for game two. The series finale will include Mike Wright against Yordano Ventura who is arguably the Royals best starter.
Following the trip to Kansas City, the Orioles head to St. Petersberg to play the Rays where Kevin Gausman could possibly make his season debut with a possible start on Monday.
Following this six game road trip, the Orioles head home for a 10 game home stand which includes the White Sox, Yankees and Athletics.