Year after East title, O's fall short of postseason

Year after East title, O's fall short of postseason

BALTIMORE -- The boxes in the Orioles' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon said it all. With Houston's win in Seattle late Monday night, Baltimore was officially eliminated from the postseason contention.

"It's self-inflicted," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club, which was 76-80 before Tuesday's rainout with six games to play and is trying to post its fourth consecutive winning season. "We knew it was going to be a tough climb in September. We made a couple good runs, looked like we might get there, we played meaningful games in September. It's a habit you want to keep, but you want to get to the finish line. We were disappointed last year, extremely disappointed last year with the way the season ended."

The defending American League East champions, the O's -- who were swept in the AL Championship Series by the Royals -- hung around late despite some uneven play this season, with last week's sweep against the Nationals giving them a chance. But they were swept out of Boston and lost, 4-3, to Toronto on Monday night to leave their postseason chances hanging by a thread.

Houston, in the hunt for the second AL Wild Card and the AL West title, edged Seattle at just after 1 a.m. ET to seal the O's fate.

"It's tough, the first time you see those boxes in the locker room. Not fun," Showalter said. "I haven't seen those in a while, the last couple years."

Still, Showalter said he remains focused on the next six games as both Toronto and New York are still jockeying for their respective spots in the postseason. As long as the outcome of the game matters around the league, the O's will continue to put up the most competitive front possible.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.