Blue Jays Play Spoiler to Themselves as O’s Clinch Division

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WP:  Ubaldo Jimenez  –  5.0IP, 2H, 2ER, 4BB, 6K

LP:  Drew Hutchison  –  6.1ER, 5H, 6ER, 2BB, 11K

The Toronto Blue Jays read sadly from their scripts on Tuesday night in Baltimore, as they played a supporting role in what was clearly the Orioles’ night.  Once 6.5 games ahead of the Orioles for the division lead, the Blue Jays have watched the AL East slip from their hands and dance into the horizon.

The Blue Jays did not receive the performance the needed from starter Drew Hutchison, who despite only giving up 5 hits, allowed damage to be done with the long ball.  A more clutch performance was expected from the fiery Hutchison, but his inability to keep the ball down early in the ball game resulted in some juicy offerings to Orioles’ batters.

An early lead quickly evaporated again in this one, with Edwin Encarnacion‘s RBI double in the top of the 1st bringing the only lead the Blue Jays would have in the ball game.  Baltimore’s red-hot Steve Pearce answered in the bottom of the inning with a 3-run blast scoring Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.

Jose Reyes would slap a bloop single to score Munenori Kawasaki in the next inning to move the score to 3-2 before the Jays stranded the bases loaded.  Jimmy Paredes would take that run right back, however, with a solo home run of his own in the bottom of the frame.

The inability to create more offence off of the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez was alarming for Toronto, as he retired 10 batters in a row at one point.  His control was ineffective, and it looked like Buck Showalter was ready to call the ‘pen in the 2nd and 3rd innings, but the veteran with the ugly contract managed to grind out the victory.

As Baltimore pulled away with 3 more runs in the bottom of the 7th, some fireworks started to fly at Camden Yards.  Aaron Loup hit Nick Markakis with a pitch in the shoulder, which seemed to be quite unintentional, but still brought on jeers from the Baltimore faithful along with the always-classy “***hole” chant.  In the next frame, with Jose Bautista at the dish, Darren O’Day drilled him in the side on the 2nd pitch of the at-bat.  A day after seeming entirely above hitting batters, Buck Showalter did not look overly upset with his own man, but O’Day did stay away from the head.

Jose Bautista, obviously irritated after the game, said that “Everyone knows they were trying to.  They should have just manned up and hit me with the first pitch”.  Hopefully this is the end of their little playground spat.

As the final out was recorded and the Baltimore Orioles spilled onto the field in celebration before a deafening crowd, there was a feeling amongst Jays fans that this was the wrong ending.  How was this scene not taking place at the Rogers Centre?  How could that 6.5 game divisional lead turn into a 5.0 game deficit in the Wild Card with just 12 games remaining.

The Blue Jays maintained in their post-game interviews that they still have a chance at this 2nd Wild Card spot, but even the most optimistic of fans are beginning to lose hope.  They will need a miracle, and a helping hand.  Even in a season that has dragged through flips of the calendar and changes of seasons, it seems that this fall fromm glory has all happened all so fast.

MVJ:  Anthony Gose.  With so little going on offensively, let’s take one moment to appreciate a great defensive play from this season.  Gose’s jumping catch to rob Nick Hundley of a home run in the bottom of the 2nd inning is not a play that many can make.  Gose’s ability to track that deep drive was incredible as calmly snagged it from danger.  He still Gose’d it at the plate, but at least he was kind enough to give Blue Jays fans a happy highlight from Tuesday.

Tomorrow’s Scheduled Starters  (7:07 ET, Oriole Park at Camden Yards):

TOR:  J.A. Happ  (9-10, 4.28 ERA)

BAL:  Bud Norris  (13-8, 3.74 ERA)

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