Significant cracks are forming in the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen and the timing couldn't be worse.
Reliever Jason Grilli gave up a solo shot to Mark Trumbo in the eighth inning and closer Roberto Osuna allowed a two-run homer to Hyun Soo Kim in the ninth as Baltimore came back to edge Toronto 3-2 on Wednesday night.
The loss left the Blue Jays (87-71) clinging to a one-game lead over the Orioles (86-72) for the first wild-card spot and makes Thursday's series finale even more important. The Detroit Tigers also won on Wednesday, beating Cleveland 6-3 in a five-inning rain-shortened game, moving them two games back of Toronto.
"It was two good teams battling," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "It came down to the end. They got the big home run there. Two teams with a lot at stake and they came up with the big blow."
With reliever Joaquin Benoit out for at least two weeks with a torn calf, Grilli and Osuna (3-3) are under even more pressure late in games. But Grilli was touched up in a loss to New York on Monday, a day after Osuna's blown save nearly resulted in another defeat.
Gibbons used his bullpen frequently earlier this month when the team was struggling. Fatigue may be becoming a significant issue.
"There is a lot that goes into this and this is the time when it's the hardest," Grilli said. "You dig down deep and you go on pure adrenalin and pure guts. You try to make pitches, you try to give your all and that's what's happening.
"We're doing that. The effort hasn't changed."
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