Ori­oles cap­ture a vic­tory in Toronto af­ter O’Day’s great es­cape

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY ED­UARDO A. ENCINA — Bal­ti­more Sun

ORI­OLES 5, BLUE JAYS 3

toronto— When Dar­ren O’Day loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth in­ning of a tied ball­game Satur­day af­ter­noon, the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles were on the brink of another dis­may­ing loss at the Rogers Cen­tre. The Toronto Blue Jays’ sec­ond home sell­out crowd this sea­son be­gan to ring in his ears as O’Day al­lowed a dan­ger­ous bat­ting or­der late-in­ning life.

Tee­ter­ing on dis­as­ter, O’Day per­formed a tremen­dous es­cape, get­ting out of the in­ning with­out al­low­ing a run af­ter strik­ing out the side. The Ori­oles then broke the tie with three runs in the ninth for a 5-3 vic­tory over the Blue Jays in front of a sell­out crowd 46,018, giv­ing them their first win in five games this sea­son at Rogers Cen­tre.

Af­ter O’Day struck out Kevin Pil­lar swing­ing to end the in­ning — O’Day em­phat­i­cally pumped his fist in the air as Pil­lar slammed hit bat into the dirt re­peat­edly — the Ori­oles’ of­fense an­swered with three runs in the ninth on a pair of two-out hits. No. 9 hitter Caleb Joseph broke the tie with an RBI sin­gle to cen­ter off Aaron Loup, and Manny Machado fol­lowed with a tworun dou­ble off re­liever Ryan Tepera.

“You load up the bases with no outs, and you’re al­ready think­ing that at least one run was go­ing to come in, [so] to get out of it with none and three Ks, we’re think­ing, ‘Let’s go get it,’ ” said Machado, who had three hits, two runs and two RBI. “That’s just how we do it out here. We never give up. We’re go­ing to keep fight­ing. That led to a good in­ning. That’s def­i­nitely what we need to keep do­ing.”

Toronto re­sponded with a run in the ninth off closer Zach Brit­ton. Jose Bautista hit a one-out RBI sin­gle, but Brit­ton re­cov­ered by in­duc­ing a dou­ble-play ball from Ed­win En­car­na­cion to seal his 19th save.

Right-han­der Kevin Gaus­man, re­in­stated from the dis­abled list be­fore the game to make his first ma­jor league start of the sea­son, gave the Ori­oles (35-33) five solid in­nings, al­low­ing two runs on four hits. The Ori­oles’ bullpen kept the game close, no in­ning more dra­matic or crit­i­cal to the win than O’Day’s eighth in­ning.

O’Day al­lowed back-to-back sin­gles to Bautista and En­car­na­cion to open the eighth. He then walked pinch hitter Eze­quiel Car­rera to load the bases. O’Day struck out the next three bat­ters — Rus­sell Martin, Dioner Navarro and Pil­lar — to end the in­ning.

“Yeah, it is a game of mo­men­tum, es­pe­cially here in Toronto with this team,” O’Day said. “It’s tough here when they start hit- ting balls all over the place to keep your cool, and all of our guys did a great job to­day. We are go­ing to scrape some­thing to­gether.”

O’Day’s es­cape didn’t come with­out a scare. Navarro his a tow­er­ing ball down the right­field line, prompt­ing a re­view that con­firmed the orig­i­nal call that the ball hooked foul.

“He just goes pitch by pitch,” Ori­oles Man­ager Buck Showal­ter said of O’Day. “He doesn’t try to get ahead of him­self and say, ‘ This is what I’ve got to have here.’ He goes pitch to pitch and sees where it takes [him]. He made some good pitches to Bautista and En­car­na­cion, and they flipped a cou­ple in there. Big­gest thing was keep­ing them in the ball­park for two days. It’s hard to do.”

O’Day also loaded the bases and es­caped in a tied game May 29 against Tampa Bay, al­low­ing back-to-back lead­off sin­gles and then hit­ting a bat­ter in the ninth in­ning be­fore es­cap­ing the threat.

“I’m do­ing it too fre­quently. Did it a few weeks ago,” O’Day said. “There’s re­ally no se­cret. Just got to fo­cus on each pitch. And when you do that, when you can stay in the mo­ment and fo­cus on the next pitch, next pitch, you can kind of string them to­gether.”

Both runs off Gaus­man came in the first two in­nings, and the 24-year-old set­tled in af­ter strand­ing two in the sec­ond, re­tir­ing 12 of the last 13 bat­ters he faced.

“Just ready to get back on the mound,” Gaus­man said. “That was awe­some for me, even just warm­ing up.”

NICK TURCHIARO/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Dar­ren O’Day de­liv­ers dur­ing an eighth in­ning in which he struck out three hit­ters with the bases loaded.

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