BALTIMORE -- The Orioles haven't lost a series to the Blue Jays all season, but they're at risk of losing one now, and the timing could not be any worse for Baltimore.Baltimore's aspirations for one of the American League Wild Card spots were dealt a blow following a 7-2 loss
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles haven't lost a series to the Blue Jays all season, but they're at risk of losing one now, and the timing could not be any worse for Baltimore.
Baltimore's aspirations for one of the American League Wild Card spots were dealt a blow following a 7-2 loss to Toronto on a rainy Saturday night at Camden Yards. The outcome meant the Orioles dropped to 2 1/2 games back of the Twins for the second Wild Card.
The Orioles are coming off a month in which they slugged 57 home runs, and they scored eight runs in the series opener, but the offense has dried up over the past two games. Baltimore was held to one run Friday night and scored just twice the following day, even though Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman departed in the second inning with a right elbow contusion.
Left-hander Wade Miley was charged with two runs on four hits -- including Kevin Pillar's solo home run in the fifth -- and left after six innings with Baltimore trailing by two, but the bullpen let the game get out of reach. Richard Rodriguez surrendered a three-run homer to Josh Donaldson, and Alec Asher served up a two-run shot to Darwin Barney as the Blue Jays cruised the rest of the way.
"I thought when he wiggled out of that jam there in the sixth, sometimes that's the difference in the ballgame," manager Buck Showalter said of Miley. "We didn't put much together offensively all night. It's one of those September baseball [games] at its best."
• Miley's strong outing goes unrewarded
Toronto received 7 1/3 quality innings from the bullpen. Lefty Matt Dermody allowed one hit with one strikeout over 2 1/3 innings, while Luis Santos allowed just one run with one strikeout over 3 1/3 innings in his Major League debut.
"Outstanding," acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. "Dermody came in, Santos followed, you can't say enough about what these guys did. Keeping this team, the offense that they have, kept the game close. We had a couple of good innings and then the big blow by J.D. really helped us."
Stroman struck out three during his brief appearance before he was struck on the right elbow by a line drive off the bat of Mark Trumbo.
"Obviously it didn't hit my head or get anywhere near my face, I'm lucky for that," said Stroman, who said he would lobby to come back on short rest to pitch Wednesday in Boston. "Definitely lucky and thankful how it all played out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pillar of strength: Pillar put the Blue Jays on the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a solo shot to left field. According to Statcast™, Pillar's 14th of the season was projected to travel 370 feet and left his bat at 98 mph. That extended Pillar's career high in home runs and also snapped an 18-inning scoreless drought for the Blue Jays dating to Thursday night's series opener. Prior to this year, the most home runs Pillar hit in one season was 12. Nine of Pillar's home runs this season have been solo shots.
Donaldson does it again: Toronto carried a 2-0 lead into the seventh, when Donaldson put the game on ice with a three-run shot to left. Donaldson had nine home runs through his first 59 games of the season but has 15 over his past 33. The latest one was projected to travel 427 feet and left his bat at 106 mph.
"That's Josh, he's capable of that," Hale said. "He's an All-Star player. And you just look at his season, he's starting to get his legs up under him and his timing more than anything. He's capable of that. We've seen that last year and also in his MVP year. He's a big part of this team, and when he produces, it helps us and puts us in a position to win."
"'De' was opting on the side of caution and just took me out. I was trying to beg to throw a couple of warmup pitches, see how it felt. I think, honestly I could have went, but I understand wholeheartedly where they're coming from and why they took me out." -- Stroman, on lobbying Hale -- the Blue Jays' acting manager with John Gibbons away for a personal matter -- to remain in the game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When Santos entered in the fifth inning, he became the 60th player used by Toronto this season. That is tied for the second most in Major League history. The Rangers used 64 in 2014, while the 2016 and 2015 Braves also used 60.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3, 6.83 ERA) will make his second start for the Blue Jays when this series wraps up on Sunday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET. Anderson allowed just one run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings during his Toronto debut.
Orioles: In his third start back from a brief demotion to the bullpen, right-hander Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.91) aims to put the Orioles back on track and help capture a split of the four-game series. He's given up 26 career homers to the Blue Jays, the most by any opponent. Preview >>
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore and covered the Orioles on Saturday.