With a 4-3 lead headed into the bottom of the ninth, the Orioles’ closer, Jim Johnson, came out of the bullpen to close out the game and redeem the three-game series against the Diamondbacks with a win in the finale. To his credit, Johnson has been good this year for the O’s with over 50 innings pitched and 39 saves with only eight blown coming into the game. Nevertheless, a rough ninth inning including a double and a single led to Johnson’s ninth blown save of the season and his third consecutive blown save opportunity.
The Diamondbacks even tried to help Johnson out in the ninth inning. After a leadoff double by Gerardo Parra, Martin Prado tried to bunt the runner over but Parra did not advance even though he likely would have been easily safe. With a man on third and only one out, Arizona would have has a very strong chance of tying the game. Alas, Aaron Hill would later plate Parra with a single and would eventually plate the winning run at the end of the 14-inning marathon game.
The silver lining from the loss is that the Orioles have the day off on Thursday. This much-needed rest comes after being swept by Arizona with the last two losses being extra inning walkoffs. The O’s will need the time to recover both physically and mentally.
Despite being one of the better teams in MLB with a 65-55 record, the Orioles blew a perfect opportunity to move one game closer in the Wild Card standings. The O’s trailed the second Wild Card spot by only two games before the start of the marathon game today. If Buck Showalter and his ballclub want to make it to the playoffs, they will need to shore up their shabby performance.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, continue to keep pressure on the NL West leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the sweep of the Orioles. Arizona seems to have a much better chance of making the playoffs than Baltimore with clutch wins like this one.