The Orioles led 2-0 Saturday, but their bats went cold in the middle innings as the Blue Jays’ heated up. Toronto took a 5-2 lead into the eighth, and the Blue Jays were four outs away from a comeback win of their own.
But Orioles designated hitter Ryan O’Hearn golfed a Jordan Romano slider 406 feet to right-center field to tie the score and send the game to extra innings.
In the 10th, Austin Hays’ RBI groundout scored Ryan Mountcastle for the winning run, and Félix Bautista was lights out to strand the automatic runner and deliver the Orioles a 6-5 victory — their 17th in come-from-behind fashion this season.
“Our guys are really competing every game right now,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s a fun team to watch.”
The series victory over the Blue Jays (25-21) is Baltimore’s 10th out of the past 12. The Orioles are 30-16 and still own the second-best record in the major leagues. Their 30th win last season came nearly a month later, on June 19.
In the top of the 10th, Mountcastle moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Adam Frazier. Hyde normally wouldn’t bunt in extras as the road team, as the goal is to score more than just one run, but with Bautista available to pitch, he gave Frazier the choice to bunt or swing away.
The veteran laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to set up Hays’ RBI fielder’s choice. Hays grounded out to three-time Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman, whose off-balanced throw home hit Mountcastle in the back before he crossed home safely.
Bautista, who threw 25 pitches in Friday’s win, allowed the first two runners he faced in the ninth to reach base but then retired the next three, two on strikeouts. He then struck out the side in the 10th to slam the door for his third win of the season and lower his ERA to 1.17.
“This is at the top for me,” Hyde said when asked where the win ranks among his club’s comeback triumphs. “We just did so many good things — little things. [Mountcastle] there, getting on the inside, huge play, great base running. Frazier all day long what he was doing offensively. Ryan O’Hearn, three-run homer, big spot off the closer. And how about my man Bautista, he was unbelievable.”
The Orioles’ first hit came from Frazier, who roped a line drive to right field that rolled to the wall after Blue Jays right fielder George Springer missed it on his diving attempt. Frazier went 3-for-4 to raise his OPS to .740. His only out was a check-swing strikeout, after which he and Toronto pitcher Alek Manoah exchanged some not-so-friendly words.
O’Hearn then singled on a ground ball to right field — his first of three hits — to give Baltimore an early lead.
Leadoff hitter Cedric Mullins doubled the Orioles’ advantage with a solo homer to right field. The long ball was originally ruled a double as it caromed back into the field, but the review gave Mullins his seventh home run and 20th extra-base hit of the season.
The Blue Jays, who scored just two runs in Friday’s loss, were held scoreless by Rodriguez through the first four innings, but Springer’s two-run blast in the fifth tied the game. Catcher Danny Jansen hit a solo shot off reliever Bryan Baker, who used to pitch in the Blue Jays’ organization, in the sixth to give Toronto a 3-2 lead.
In the seventh, Springer singled home a run off reliever Mike Baumann, lashing a ground ball that ricocheted off shortstop Jorge Mateo’s glove. Pinch-hitter Alejandro Kirk singled to center field off Cole Irvin, the starting pitcher who is up from Triple-A to provide bullpen help, for a run that was charged to Baumann.
Grayson Rodriguez has started two games against American League East opponents, and they’ve been two of his better starts as he’s largely struggled to begin his rookie campaign.
On May 9, Rodriguez rebounded from a drubbing against the Kansas City Royals to pitch a career-high 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball against the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays. The 23-year-old was facing a similar scenario Saturday, and he produced nearly the same result.
Coming off his worst start of the season earlier this week, Rodriguez allowed two runs in five innings against a deep Blue Jays lineup. Five days after surrendering nine hits and eight runs to the Los Angeles Angels, the hard-throwing right-hander struck out six while scattering four hits and one walk. The lone blemish was the two-run long ball he allowed to Springer in the fifth, as the four-time All-Star hammered a 2-0 cutter over the left field wall.
“This was his best start for me. Stuff-wise, I thought he was really good. That’s a really tough offensive team he’s facing,” Hyde said. “I thought he grew today. It’s a tough environment to pitch in, 41,000 here in Toronto. To do what he did, I thought it was a really good step for him.”
It wasn’t a perfect start, as the sport’s top pitching prospect, according to Baseball America, still didn’t look like his dominant self, but he stranded runners in three of his first four innings. After stranding one in the first and going three-up, three-down in the second, Rodriguez got a popup and a strikeout to leave Santiago Espinal at third base.
In the fourth, he allowed a walk and a double with one out, but he snagged a comebacker to get an out in a rundown between third and home and then struck out Daulton Varsho swinging. After both inning-ending punchouts, Rodriguez screamed into his glove, perhaps the most emotive he’s been since he debuted in early April.
“That’s a great team, a loaded lineup,” Rodriguez said. “The emotions were a little high today. Obviously, going out there having something to prove from that last outing and really just going out, attacking those guys.”
Around the horn
- Reliever Mychal Givens (left knee inflammation) is with the team in Toronto but hasn’t been activated off the 15-day. Givens threw a bullpen at Camden Yards on Thursday and last appeared in a game during his minor league rehabilitation assignment Tuesday. “He feels pretty good,” Hyde said. “We’re monitoring right now, and hopefully he’ll be active for us here in the near future.”
- Third baseman Ramón Urías (left hamstring strain) is “right on track,” Hyde said, and could begin his minor league rehab assignment “later next week.”
- Outfield prospect Colton Cowser was placed on Triple-A Norfolk’s injured list Saturday with a left quad injury. Cowser, Baltimore’s second-best prospect still in the minors, has a 1.023 OPS with the Tides this season. Norfolk catcher Maverick Handley was also placed on the IL with left wrist inflammation.
This story will be updated.
Orioles at Blue Jays
Sunday, 1:37 p.m.
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