Orioles capture a victory in Toronto after O’Day’s great escape
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.”
Darren O’Day delivers during an eighth inning in which he struck out three hitters with the bases loaded.