Pedro Strop will take a lot of blame for the loss, but let’s also remember that he threw just three pitches and allowed one base hit. He probably doesn’t deserve very much of it. The game turned on Munenori Kawasaki’s two-run homers in the seventh. Yes, the hit off Strop was the game winner, but the bench coach John Russell, filling in for Buck Showalter after his ejection, had already used late-inning arms Darren O’Day and Tommy Hunter.
Chris Davis now has 12 homers against the Blue Jays since the beginning of the 2012 season, most of any player in that span.
Kawasaki has one homer – ever. And at the age of 32, he became the older Blue Jays player ever to hit his first career homer. He’s hitting .321 against the Orioles and is hitting .207 against everyone else.
Forgotten in the loss was Jason Hammel, who performed well despite not falling short of a quality start. Hammel struck out seven, one shy of his season high, and was a couple outs away from allowing just one run. He got a bad break in the first when Edwin Encarnacion’s ball dropped between Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis. If Markakis is able to go full force on that ball, he makes that catch, but it seems like he was tied up by Flaherty charging from second base.
If the play is made there, the inning is over and Hammel doesn’t have to face Adam Lind in that inning. The pitch Lind hit out was a decent pitch, a breaking ball below the knees that Lind was able to pull. The home run Hammel allowed to Encarnacion ended a 10-pitch at bat.
Lost in the game will be Markakis’ catch into the stands in foul ground down the right-field line on Emilio Bonifacio. Orioles manager Buck Showalter mentioned the other day about how well Markakis not just knows right field at Camden Yards, but also the other AL East parks. That was on display last night.
Having won nine straight, the Blue Jays are at .500 for the first time this season, so all five teams in the AL East are at .500 or above.
I was able to take a second look at Showalter’s ejection last night. I missed the part where he gestures to the other umpires and throws them out of the game as well. That was very Earl Weaver-esque. That must have been after home plate umpire Angel Hernandez refused Showalter’s request to reconvene and ask how Chris Davis could have been called out on a dead ball.