O's snap Jays' win streak
Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Eric Thames fails to catch Baltimore Orioles batter Matt Wieters' home run in the fourth inning Tuesday night at Camden Yards. The O's won, 2-1. (REUTERS)
Eric Thames didn't get the loss but it in the Blue Jays clubhouse it sure looked that way.
Following a 2-1 defeat to the Baltimore Orioles, Thames cut a lonely figure, sitting at his locker, staring deeply into it as he attempted to collect his thoughts.
It took about 15 minutes for the Blue Jays left fielder to turn to face the media and explain what happened on a fly ball off the bat of Matt Wieters with one out in the fourth in a 1-1 game.
Wieters, batting left, drilled it high and to the opposite field, heading for the left-field corner.
Thames broke back on the ball and came racing over and as he made his leap Thames, the ball and the outfield wall all came together with the left fielder's glove nudging the ball over the wall and into the seats for a solo home run.
It stood as the deciding run in a game where the Jays collected just five hits, one of them a long home run in the third off Thames bat to mark his first home run of the season.
But in the aftermath of defeat, Thames was a figure of absolute dejection.
"It was going to the top of the wall and I reached out to catch it and it hit off my glove and into the seats, it's as simple as that," Thames said. "It all happened so fast. It hit my glove and I heard the crowd and I looked up and saw it was in the seats and of course, intense anger."
Off the bat Thames thought he had more room and would be able to make a play.
"I broke back and I saw it tailing away and I went into the corner and like I said, it hit off my glove. Off the bat I had a feeling it was going to be one that I had a chance to rob and it was and I didn't bring it down."
He was asked about the long time he took to collect himself.
"It's been a pretty rough month for myself," said Thames who has just the one homer, three extra base hits and two RBIs in 44 at-bats.
The misplay in left sure took the bloom off his first homer of the season.
"It felt good," he said. "I've been working with Murph (hitting coach Dwayne Murphy) a little bit on clearing my head and not trying to do too much and going out of my game plan ... and it works so I'll just keep going."
Defence is not Thames specialty by a long shot as he doesn't get the best jumps on balls or takes the best routes. In the off-season he worked on his throwing, which has improved, but he's in the big leagues because of his bat.
So far, though, the production hasn't been there and down in Las Vegas, Travis Snider is tearing it up and that has to weigh on his mind.
The loss, meanwhile, went to Henderson Alvarez who continues to be the Jays hard luck kid.
Alvarez allowed just the two runs on five hits and two walks over seven innings and is still looking for his first victory of the season against two losses. In four starts his ERA is 4.10 and in 14 career starts he has posted just the one victory.
But he's not cursing his lack of luck.
"He has to do his part and when it's over he felt like he did his part," Alvarez said through coach Luis Rivera who acted as his interpreter. "It's a team game and whatever happens after that is out of his hands."
Prior to the game the discussion with manager John Farrell was about Alvarez and the tough luck that he has endured in his starts. This night was more of the same.
"He pitched exceptionally well," Farrell said. "He did his job. You go seven innings, you give up two runs, one on a deflected ball out of Thames great effort in left field that carries out of the ball park for a solo home run. But we didn't have many opportunities (offensively).
"But Henderson, I thought he threw an outstanding ball game."
The Jays came into the game off a four-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals but now find themselves 1-3 against Baltimore on the season.
"We had some things go our way and I think we executed very well within that series in Kansas City," Farrell said before the game. "But we still know that in our division those games mean the most and that's where we've got to continue to improve on.
"That's not to take anyone lightly outside our division but we all know the 18 games per team in here mean twice (as much). For us to get where we want to go we're going to have to go through these teams in the East."
It didn't go their way Tuesday, not for Alvarez and certainly not for Thames.