It's still too early to lock the Orioles into or out of any playoff positions, but the last few days, the club has headed in the wrong direction. After a 4-0 defeat to Toronto on Tuesday, the Orioles have lost three of four games. The last time they hit such a rough stretch was July 23-28, when they dropped five of six. Fortunately for Baltimore, the AL East-leading New York Yankees lost 5-4 to the Minnesota Twins, leaving the Orioles still 1 1/2 games back in the division race. Baltimore holds a half-game game lead on the Oakland A's for the top AL wild-card spot. After two weeks of battling it out with New York for the division lead, the Orioles fell behind by more than a game for the first time after splitting a doubleheader with the Blue Jays on Monday. Baltimore and New York are ahead of the field, and Tampa Bay is within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but ultimately, the AL East's other two clubs -- Toronto and Boston -- will play a key role in determining the division winner. The Orioles have a shot to salvage a split with Toronto on Wednesday before an off day Thursday. Boston comes to town for three games this weekend to wrap up Baltimore's home schedule. The Red Sox then close the regular season with a three-game series at Yankee Stadium, while the Orioles finish with three at Tampa Bay.
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