How appropriate the Baltimore Orioles were eliminated from the playoff hunt by a one-run defeat in extra innings.
The Orioles dropped out of the postseason race Tuesday night, losing to the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 in 10 innings in a game that had an all too familiar feel for Baltimore.
Baltimore's sixth straight loss, combined with Cleveland's comeback win over the Chicago White Sox, left the Orioles six games behind the Indians for the final wild-card slot with five games left.
A year ago, the Orioles made the playoffs because they were outstanding in close games. Baltimore was 29-9 in one-run affairs and 16-2 in games that went extra innings.
This year, those numbers are 17-31 and 8-7.
What went wrong?
"I don't know who you'd have to talk to to get the answer to that one," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "I don't know. It's just the way things worked out. We still believe we're a good team, and we're going to get better."
The Orioles knew it was going to be nearly impossible to reach the postseason after they were swept in a four-game series in Tampa Bay before returning home. This defeat finalized the inevitable.
"We play all the way from February 15th or whenever we started to get to the playoffs," Hardy said. "It's hard to think that after how many games we've played since then, we're not going, so yeah, it's tough."
Toronto's Mark DeRosa singled in the tying run in the eighth inning and put the Blue Jays ahead in the 10th.
Sergio Santos (1-1) worked a perfect ninth and Casey Janssen got three outs for his 34th save.
Jose Reyes drew a one-out walk in the Toronto 10th off Francisco Rodriguez (2-1) and Munenori Kawasaki singled. Reyes appeared to be picked off second but was called safe, drawing Orioles manager Buck Showalter out to argue the call.
"The throw beat me but he don't touch me," Reyes said. "He don't tag me. It wasn't even close. That was the right call by the umpire."
Brett Lawrie then hit into a fielder's choice and DeRosa singled to right.
Brian Roberts and Nate McLouth homered for the Orioles, whose six-game skid ties their longest of the season.
Down the stretch, Baltimore lost its hitting touch and ability to win the tight ones. The scores of those six losses: 3-1, 5-4, 5-1, 3-1, 5-4 and 3-2.
"For some reason, our consistency offensively wasn't there, as it should have been at the end," McLouth said
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman gave up one run, five hits and a walk in seven innings. He tied a career high with nine strikeouts and left with a 2-1 lead, but the bullpen immediately gave up the advantage in the eighth.
Reyes greeted Kevin Gausman with a single and reached third with one out before Lawrie struck out on a 3-2 pitch. DeRosa pinch hit for Adam Lind and delivered an opposite-field bloop single off Brian Matusz to knot the score at 2.
Vying for his fourth straight win for the Blue Jays, starter Todd Redmond had a decent outing -- except for two pitches, the ones Roberts and McLouth sent over the scoreboard in right field in the third inning. Redmond allowed two runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"I didn't have my best stuff compared to my last couple of outings but I tried to give the guys a chance to win," the right-hander said. "The offense came through and we did."
Toronto got a second-inning run when Ryan Goins hit a two-out RBI single. In the bottom half, the Orioles loaded the bases with one out but failed to score.
In the third, however, Roberts and McLouth connected within a span of three pitches to put Baltimore up 2-1. It was the fifth time this season the Orioles hit back-to-back homers, the second time against the Blue Jays.
But the lead ultimately wouldn't hold up -- as has been the case so often this season.
"It's a lot of close games," Showalter said. "There's some things we did well and some things we didn't. But there's a lot of good baseball ahead for this team and this organization."