05/27/09 7:27 PM ET
Jays handed tough loss in extras
Toronto drops ninth straight game on trying road trip
By Jeff Seidel / Special to MLB.com
It might have been just one game early in a long season, but this loss was one that hurt. The Blue Jays battled problems with timely hitting that caused a long losing streak on this road trip, and when they finally got a bunch of hits at the right time, the pitchers couldn't come through.
That's why when Nolan Reimold blasted a three-run walk-off homer off Brian Wolfe in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Baltimore a 12-10 victory over the Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the frustration was so evident in the locker room that Toronto's losing streak had reached nine games.
"This is one we had a chance to win," said Toronto manager Cito Gaston. "This is probably the worst loss we had on this trip. We were leading, we had [Roy Halladay] on the mound. You get a five-run lead, and you're supposed to win those kind of games."
The Blue Jays (27-23) lost all nine games on this road trip in Boston, Atlanta and Baltimore, mostly because they couldn't hit with runners in scoring position.
They had hit only .141 (10-for-71) with runners in scoring position during the eight-game skid, but went 5-for-10 in this game. They left seven on base, but the biggest problem was the fact that Toronto didn't do much after a six-run fourth.
Toronto got just two runs on four hits in the final seven innings after banging out seven runs on eight hits in the first four. The Baltimore bullpen picked up starter Rich Hill, who only got through 3 1/3 innings, by retiring 15 in a row from the sixth through the 11th, opening the door for the Orioles (21-26) to rally.
But the Blue Jays bullpen didn't fare as well, giving up nine runs on 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
"I will still say we lost as a team again today," Gaston said. "In the past, pitchers have been pitchers and hitters haven't been doing too much, so I'll still say it's a team thing. Today we lost as a team."
But this looked like a game the Jays were going to win. They finally broke out of their slump with runners in scoring position to bang out six runs on five hits in that fourth inning to give starter Halladay a 7-2 lead. Gaston pulled Halladay after seven innings with an 8-3 lead, and everything looked good.
However, the Orioles got five runs on five hits in the eighth -- off Jesse Carlson and Scott Downs -- to tie the game at 8. Baltimore nearly took the lead on a Nick Markakis double that scored Robert Andino with the tying run, but second baseman Aaron Hill made a perfect relay throw from short right field to nail Adam Jones at home.
"Today was a big letdown for the team," said Carlson, who gave up five runs on three hits in one-third of an inning. "I feel bad about that. Five-run lead going into the eighth, usually we just lock it down."
The Jays then appeared to get the momentum back when Jason Frasor worked his way out of trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Hill gave Toronto a 10-8 lead with a two-run homer off Danys Baez (4-1) in the top of the 11th. That ended a homerless drought of 77 innings for the Jays and looked like it would end the losing streak.
But everything fell apart in the bottom of the inning. Markakis singled off B.J. Ryan and moved to second on a Melvin Mora single against Wolfe. Luke Scott followed with an RBI single to make it 10-9, and Reimold then got his game-winning shot.
"It was down ... he definitely went and got it," Wolfe said. "Today we just needed to pick up two innings and couldn't get out of it."
The words were hard to come by after this one, and Hill just shook his head and said the team will be glad to have a day off Thursday.
"It's one of those things," Hill said quietly. "I don't even know how to explain it. You've got to forget it and get ready for the Bosox. It's kind of hard. It doesn't go down easy."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.