ORIOLES QUICK WRAP
Score: Orioles 9, Blue Jays 7
Recap: Reliever Edgmer Escalona gave up five runs in the sixth inning to wipe out the Orioles' 2-1 lead, but Francisco Peguero's two-out, bases-loaded triple in the eighth capped a seven-run rally. Steve Johnson retired all six batters he faced, striking out two, in relief of Miguel Gonzalez, who was charged with one run in the second.
Need to know: A day after Jemile Weeks doubled, walked and scored twice, Jonathan Schoop came off the bench and delivered an RBI single in the eighth to spice up the second base competition.
On deck: Sunday, at Red Sox in Fort Myers, 1:05 p.m.
SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles reliever Edgmer Escalona gave up five runs in the top of the sixth inning, the last three on Dan Johnson's home run, and the Blue Jays have taken a 6-2 lead.
Chris Davis drove in both Orioles runs with a double in the third inning. Nelson Cruz sped home from first base after drawing a two-out walk.
That's the plan this season. Cruz gets on base and Davis drives him in, or the other way around, depending on the order.
"Like clockwork," Davis said. "I was glad to see him work an at-bat like that. I think that's kind of where we're all at after the first few days. Get in there, see some pitches. You just can't simulate this stuff. You've got to be out there, you've got to turn on the competition again, and I felt good."
Did Cruz think he would score as the ball rolled to the fence in left-center field?
"Yeah," he said, smiling. "I think of that right away."
"I feel good," Cruz added. "My legs feel good. I would like to see more pitches the next time."
Cruz got one at-bat in an intrasquad game before today, tapping back to the mound. He was eager to play today.
"As soon as I came into the stadium, I missed that," he said. "Good at-bats, I guess. With more at-bats, I'll feel better.
"It doesn't feel like butterflies or anything. Buck (Showalter) asked me if I was nervous. I feel normal, I guess, as soon as I come out to the field. It's something I haven't done for a while. It comes natural."
Davis didn't know who devised the plan to have the Orioles wear Monica Barlow's initials on their wristbands, "but whoever is was, it was a good idea."
Barlow, the club's director of public relations, passed away yesterday morning after a long battle with Stage IV lung cancer.
"Last couple days, we talked," Davis said. "No matter what you do, you just can't prepare yourself for that. I miss her a lot and it's only been a couple of days. But she'll always be here with us.
"I think the biggest thing for me was she was a friend for me, and when you come from a place where everything has been routine for a lot of years, you find out who your true friends are. And Monica was always there for me. Always kept me in check, but at the same time, just made me proud to be who I was and to do what I did."
The Orioles would need the approval of Major League Baseball to wear a patch in her honor this season.
"I would like to," Davis said. "I think it's a good idea to honor her. A lot of people don't understand what goes on behind the clubhouse doors, but those are the people who are really important to us. Anything we can do to honor her, whether it's wearing her initials on a wristband or putting them on our hat, whatever we could do, we'd sure like to do that."
It's been a running joke here that Barlow would have objected to all the fuss being made over her. Imagine her reaction to the wristbands.
"She probably would have thought it was a terrible idea, but that's what I love about her," Davis said, his voice cracking. "She made our jobs easier and you just can't say enough good things about her."
Adam Jones wrote the initials MB on his cap.
"It's more visual that way," he said. "I think no matter what we did, she's in everybody's hearts right now, everybody's minds. We lost a good member of our family and it's not easy just to cope with it and let it go. We are going to remember her in great fashion.
"Knowing Monica, she definitely would have been like, 'No, no need. Please don't do it,' because that's Monica. She doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for her. That's just a testament to how strong a woman she was battling all the illnesses and everything that came along with it.
"What she's done for us is help us just worry about the on-field stuff. PR and community relations, they get tons of requests for players and coaches to do certain things and certain activities and Monica has learned each player's personality and what they were willing to do and not willing to do. She always told me, 'Let me be the bad guy. I don't want you to be the bad guy. Let me be the bad guy.' She just helped me a lot with making the right decisions and doing things that not just helped me, but helped the team instead of just doing things just for the sake of doing them. There's always a purpose behind things and she helped me out a lot with that."
Jones also would like the Orioles to honor Barlow in some fashion.
"That's up to Mr. (Peter) Angelos and than you have to get it through Major League Baseball, but she was such an instrumental part of our family here in the Orioles," he said. "I wouldn't be opposed with it to be honest with you for everything, not just she's done with the team, but for the individuals. She's helped out a lot of individuals with their personal life, also, so to pay tribute, to pay homage any way we do it would be awesome."
Update: The Orioles scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 9-7 lead.
The last three scored on Francisco Peguero's two-out, bases-loaded triple.
Jonathan Schoop had an RBI single with the bases loaded and one out. Xavier Paul drove in two runs with a single, and another run scored on Julio Borbon's fielder's choice bouncer.
The inning was kept alive by an error, allowing Cord Phelps to reach, and Peguero cleared the bases.
The Orioles collected six hits in the inning.
The Jays scored a run off Josh Stinson in the top of the eighth that gave them a 7-2 lead before that rally.