The Orioles were batting .283 in this series before tonight, but only .190 (4-for-21) with runners in scoring position. They were hitting .206 (14-for-68) with RISP over their last eight games.
Nate McLouth had the right idea tonight. Just lead off the game with a home run and don’t worry about it.
McLouth’s ninth career leadoff homer, and his second this season, tied the game 1-1 after the Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the first on Edwin Encarnacion’s 42nd homer.
McLouth’s other leadoff homer this year came Sept. 17 at Seattle.
Tonight’s blast wasn’t a cheap one. McLouth drove the ball to right-center field and beyond the leaping attempt of Colby Rasmus.
Before tonight, McLouth was batting .265/.359/.441 in 16 games as Nick Markakis’ replacement atop the order. His signing is another feather in the cap of executive vice president Dan Duquette, who made sure to promote McLouth on Aug. 4 before he could exercise the opt-out clause in his contract.
J.J. Hardy followed McLouth’s homer with a walk, but he was erased on a double play The Orioles haven’t gotten a runner into scoring position in the first two innings.
The Orioles have failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position in 45 games this season, and they’ve managed only one hit in 31. However, they’ve won 17 of the 45 and 14 of the 31.
Update: Matt Wieters struck out after Adam Jones doubled with two outs in the fourth and took third on a wild pitch, making the Orioles 0-for-1 with RISP. So what does Jim Thome do? He leads off the bottom of the fifth with his 612th career home run, and his third as an Oriole.
Thome’s ball barely cleared the out-of-town scoreboard, but it traveled far enough to tie the game, 2-2. He hadn’t homered since July 21 in Cleveland.
The Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth on J.P. Arencibia’s one-out double and Anthony Gose’s RBI single.
Update II: Manny Machado homered with two outs in the fifth to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. McLouth and Hardy followed with singles, and Chris Davis made a mockery of the RISP stat with a three-run blast.
Machado was born 10 months after Thome made his major league debut, and they’ve homered on the same night - and in the same inning.
Machado has five homers and 21 RBIs since the Orioles selected his contract from Double-A Bowie.
Davis has 27 homers and 75 RBIs. Now we have a pretty good idea what he can do if given around 500 at-bats (493 and counting).
The Orioles have hit 201 home runs this year.
As for the RISP stat, McLouth and Hardy singled with two outs, but Davis
Update III: And the big hits just keep on coming.
Mark Reynolds hit a two-run rainmaker off Blue Jays reliever Joel Carreno in the sixth, giving the Orioles five home runs tonight - their most in a single game since they hit six against the Yankees on Sept. 6. That’s also the last time they had three homers in the same inning (Jones, Reynolds and Davis).
Orioles 8, Blue Jays 2.
Elias is checking on the largest age gap between players who homered in the same inning. Thome is 42, Machado 20. ESPN’s Buster Olney, sitting in my row tonight, mentioned the Griffeys. I suggested Julio Franco and anyone.
(Olney just discovered that the Griffeys’ were 20 years apart).
Tonight’s attendance: 26,513. The Orioles have drawn 1,981,154 with three home dates remaining.
Update IV: According to Elias, the age gap between Thome and Machado is the second-largest for teammates who homered in the same inning.
The largest age disparity came on June 14, 2005 when Julio Franco (46 years) and Kelly Johnson (23 years) both homered in the fifth inning for the Braves.
Meanwhile, Davis hit his second home run tonight to increase the lead to 10-2. It’s Davis’ third career multi-homer game and his second this season. He hit three against the Blue Jays on Aug. 24.
Davis has nine homers against Toronto in 2012, the most by any Orioles player against the Blue Jays in one year in franchise history.
Oh, by the way, Gonzalez held Toronto to two runs and five hits over seven innings, with one walk and one strikeout. He threw 96 pitches, 70 for strikes. Brian Matusz is replacing him.
Update V: Machado hit his second home run in the eighth inning, completing a 12-2 victory over the Blue Jays and allowing the Orioles to tie their franchise record with seven homers in the same game.
It also happened Aug. 26, 1985 against the Angels and May 18, 1967 against the Red Sox.
Gonzalez turned in his third straight quality start and I’m not sure anyone noticed.
The Orioles are 35-2 when their starter goes seven innings or more, 70-0 when they lead after the seventh inning and 71-1 when they lead after the eighth. Their run differential is -1.
LJ Hoes grounded to short in his first major league at-bat in the ninth. He was immediately benched for not hitting a home run.