The O's have allowed at least one run in the eighth inning or later in 28 of their 51 games this season, with 66 of their 253 runs allowed (26 percent) coming in the eighth inning or later.
Although manager Dave Trembley has prefaced that there are no roles in the Orioles' bullpen, he has said previously that the preference would be to give lefty specialist Will Ohman the bulk of the team's save opportunities. Putting Ohman in the ninth inning is Trembley's best option. But, getting the ball to Ohman with a save in hand has became more of a challenge, now that the team's best reliever isn't available in the earlier innings.
The O's have allowed the tying or go-ahead run to score in the eighth inning or later 13 times, including in Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays. When asked Sunday morning if he has given any thought to using Ohman earlier in the game, Trembley said the move is easy to make in hindsight.
"What we'll do is continue to try and put the best available guy in the best situation we possibly can, and see how the game plays out," Trembley said.
On Sunday, even Ohman wasn't exempt. The lefty surrendered his first earned runs of the year, snapping an American League-leading 15 2/3 scoreless innings with a pair of eighth-inning homers in the Orioles' 6-1 loss to Toronto.
"My job remains exactly the same," Ohman said. "I wasn't going Roger Maris and having hair fall out or anything. [The streak] was nice while it lasted, you want to go as long as you can."
Moments after Ohman released his first pitch, Jose Bautista put an end to Ohman's perfect ERA, lifting a pitch over the left-field wall. Alex Gonzalez followed with a 3-1 blast to give the Blue Jays a five-run lead. Ohman -- far and away the Orioles' best reliever -- had tossed 25 scoreless appearances prior to Sunday.
"[The streak] wasn't something of concern, it wasn't something that was weighing on me by any means," said Ohman, who made his first appearance since Tuesday. "I gave up two far hits, didn't like it."
"We will forget about it and move on, it's the life of anybody in baseball. Good hitters fail 70 percent of the time, they got to forget the last at-bat. I got to forget [Sunday]."