Steve Johnson walked the first two batters he faced today, an ominous sign if you believe in such things.
Johnson retired seven in a row after the second walk, a positive sign if you’re more inclined to believe in those.
In the first inning, Johnson struck out Edwin Encarnacion on a 91 mph fastball and retired Adam Lind on a ground ball and Rajai Davis on a pop up. He struck out Jeff Mathis on a 90 mph fastball to end the second inning and Anthony Gose on an 89 mph fastball to open the third.
Brett Lawrie blooped a single into right field and Colby Rasmus walked with one out in the third. Encarnacion struck out again, sending his bat spiraling toward shortstop on a 67 mph curveball that followed a 90 mph fastball, and Lind grounded to the mound on a 69 mph curve.
Johnson threw 24 pitches in the first inning, 16 in the second and 22 in the third to leave his count at 62.
In his last three at-bats, Jim Thome has two ground-rule doubles, an RBI and a walk. The free pass came in the second inning today after Adam Jones led off with a single.
The Orioles have won five straight home games against the Blue Jays for the first time since July 11-Oct. 4, 2009. The last time they exceeded that total against Toronto was Sept. 15, 1978-May 2, 1981, when they won 19 straight at home.
I’ve heard that approximately 30,000 fans are expected to attend today’s single-admission doubleheader.
Game 2 starter Wei-Yin Chen is winless in his last five starts, going 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 20 innings. The Orioles have scored seven runs while Chen was in the game.
Closer Jim Johnson was honored before the game as the Orioles’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
The Orioles have sold out the potential wild card and division series games at Camden Yards, according to a team spokesman.
Update: Adam Jones hit his 32nd home run, a two-run shot in the fourth inning that broke a scoreless tie.
Seventeen of Jones’ 32 homers have given the Orioles a lead. They’re 22-8 when he homers.
Chris Davis led off the inning with a walk before Jones drove an 89 mph fastball from Henderson Alvarez deep into the left field seats.
Update II: Ryan Flaherty added to the lead with his fifth home run, a solo shot into the Orioles’ bullpen leading off the fifth. It was Flaherty’s first homer since July 21 in Cleveland.
Flaherty doubled and tripled in his last start on Saturday at Fenway Park.
The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, and Jones scored on Mark Reynolds’ double play bouncer to short. Jones has 101 runs this season.
Orioles 4, Blue Jays 0.
Jones is 3-for-3 with a home run and two singles. His average is up to .290.
Johnson allowed three hits, walked three and struck out six over five scoreless innings. He threw 96 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Troy Patton replaced Johnson in the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Lind before getting a double play and fly ball.
Update III: The Orioles posted their seventh victory in their last eight games, defeating the Blue Jays, 4-1, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Camden Yards.
Jim Johnson got the last three outs for his 48th save in 51 chances.
Tommy Hunter, with his fastball at 97-98 mph, retired the first five batters he faced - striking out three - before allowing three straight hits and a run in the eighth inning. Only one ball was hit hard.
Darren O’Day struck out Kelly Johnson to strand Rajai Davis at second base. Only six of his 42 inherited runners have scored.
Jones homered and had three singles - his second four-hit game this season. He’s batting .292.
The Orioles are 69-0 when leading after the seventh inning and 70-1 when leading after the 8th. They’re 23-8 when Jones homers.
The Orioles crept to within a half-game of the Yankees in the American League East.
Game 2 is coming up shortly. Steve Johnson and manager Buck Showalter will be made available to the media. The clubhouse is closed between games.