It was one of those unintentional, intentional walks that came back to bite the Toronto Blue Jays during their 7-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Friday night at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays headed into the eighth inning with things seemingly in hand, leading 5-4 with veteran reliever Jason Frasor on the mound to try and protect the lead.
Frasor allowed a leadoff single to Nolan Reimold and followed that up with a strikeout of J.J. Hardy.
Frasor then gave way to Darren Oliver who provided Toronto with a lefty-on-lefty matchup with Baltimore outfielder Nick Markakis stepping into the batter’s box.
During his at-bat, Reimold stole second and then went to third when Markakis stroked a grounder up the middle that just eluded the glove of an extended Yunel Escobar as Reimold stopped at third.
At this point, with the hot-hitting Matt Wieters stepping into the batter’s box, Farrell said the decision was made to pitch around the Baltimore catcher -- even though that loaded the bases and moved the potential go-ahead run to second base.
“We were okay with somewhat pitching around him with second base still being open,” said Farrell, adding that at that point he viewed the key matchup was with the switch-hitting Wilson Betemit, the next batter.
Farrell said he decided to keep Oliver in to pitch because he wanted Betemit to bat right-handed, where he is a career .245 hitter, 31 points lower than from the left side.
Betemit responded by driving the ball into centrefield that scored two run that put the Orioles in front to stay.
“It seems like everybody was swinging a hot bat tonight,” said Oliver, whose blown save was Toronto’s third of the season. “So we probably should have faced Wieters instead of Betemit. Maybe I would have had better luck.”
Luck was not with the Blue Jays on this night who lost despite getting four home runs in the game from Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, Escobar and Edwin Encarnacion.
Baltimore had three of their own from Robert Andino, Adam Jones and Reimold.
Overall, Morrow was satisfied with the way he pitched, lasting seven innings while allowing four runs off six hits, including two of the home runs.
“It’s okay,” Morrow said. “Solo home runs usually aren’t going to beat you. I did my job, got us through the seventh with a lead.”