The Blue Jays now only lead the Wild Card by one game over the Orioles, after losing 3-2 on Thursday night.
The Blue Jays sent Francisco Liriano back to the mound against Chris Tillman and the Orioles in the second game of their three game series. The Jays managed a 5-1 victory in the opener, but were unable to extend their Wild Card lead, losing 3-2 on Thursday.
The loss puts the Blue Jays 1.0 game ahead of the Orioles in the playoff race with 4 games remaining. A win would have put the Blue Jays ahead by 3 games and virtually guaranteed a home playoff game for Toronto.
The Jays opened the scoring in the first inning when Ezequiel Carrera reached on an error by Chris Davis. The suspect fielding for the Orioles continued when Carrera was able to take third as well after Josh Donaldson flied out. Edwin Encarnacion added to his MLB leading RBI total with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
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In the second inning, Troy Tulowitzki doubled to left field with one out, and reached third on a single by Michael Saunders. Kevin Pillar was able to hit a deep enough fly ball to the opposite field to plate Tulowitzki, making it 2-0 after two innings.
Liriano cruised through most of the outing, allowing only six singles over 6.1 innings. The former All-Star also struck out 10 Orioles hitters, and looked in control for nearly all of his outing. After allowing two base runners and surpassing 100 pitches, Brett Cecil came on to escape the jam in the 7th, leaving both runners stranded. Tulowitzki made an exceptional play going to his right on a ground ball and throwing across his body to retire Adam Jones.
Cecil was able to strike out Chris Davis to start the 8th inning, before Jason Grilli came on in relief. Grill was tagged for a solo shot by MLB home run leader, Mark Trumbo, to bring the score to 2-1. Pedro Alvarez was also able to double off of Grilli, before the set-up man got Matt Wieters to fly out to end the inning.
The Blue Jays threatened in the bottom of the 8th to no avail. Donaldson was hit by a pitch from Mychal Givens, before he retired Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. Givens then got in trouble with two outs, hitting Russell Martin as well, before walking Tulowitzki to load the bases. Brian Duensing came on to relieve him with the bases loaded, and struck out Melvin Upton looking.
Roberto Osuna came on to face the bottom third of the Orioles’ lineup, and blew just his 5th save of the season. The Orioles got it started after Jonathan Schoop singled with one out, and pinch runner Michael Bourn stole second. Pinch hitter, Hyun Soo Kim managed to drive a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall, to give the Orioles at 3-2 lead. With the hit, Kim is now 6-for-9 as a pinch hitter in 2016.
Zach Britton entered to pitch the ninth, coming in 46 for 46 in save opportunities with an ERA of 0.56. He made it 47 after he retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out the first two before getting Dioner Navarro to ground out to end the inning.