Camden Yards was pretty quiet after a 58-minute rain delay halted the game before the last of the 10th. When play resumed, Toronto’s Jason Grilli quickly got two strikeouts. But Mark Trumbo dumped a single into right and Welington Castillo came up.
Castillo hit a two-run homer earlier and then he blasted another on a 1-2 pitch as the Orioles beat Toronto 5-3 in walk-off fashion.
They improved to 24-16 and moved to within a half-game of first place New York, which lost to Tampa Bay, in the American League East. The Orioles are 14-3 at home, 7-1 in extra innings games and 6-1 versus the Blue Jays.
It was Castillo’s first career walk-off homer and this is his fourth career multi-homer game. He is batting .447 (17-for-38) during an eight-game hitting streak. Since rejoining the team Tuesday from the disabled list he is 9-for-15 in three games with two homers and seven RBIs.
Earlier, Orioles starter Chris Tillman was rolling along with a one-hitter on 41 pitches through three innings. But he quickly got into trouble in what turned out to be a three-run fourth for Toronto.
Tillman hit José Bautista with a breaking ball and walked Kendrys Morales. The two began the night batting a combined .136 on the year against Baltimore pitching. Justin Smoak singled to left and Bautista scored to tie the game at 1-1. Devon Travis followed with an RBI double to deep right for the 2-1 lead and Ryan Goins followed with an RBI groundout to make it 3-1. Darwin Barney bunted and missed on a suicide squeeze and Travis was out in a rundown between third and home on what was officially a caught stealing.
The Orioles had taken a 1-0 lead in the home second. They loaded the bases with one out as Trumbo and Hyun Soo Kim singled around a hit by pitch that allowed Trey Mancini to reach. J.J. Hardy’s single to center produced his 14th RBI and a lead. But the O’s wasted a chance to score more when Jonathan Schoop grounded out and Adam Jones popped out.
But Tillman pitched two more scoreless after that fourth inning and came up with his first quality start in his third 2017 outing, despite not getting a decision. Over six innings, he allowed five hits and three runs with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 91 pitches and has an ERA of 3.52.
The Orioles used a longball to tie the game in the last of the sixth. Castillo drove a two-run homer to right-center off Aaron Sanchez for the 3-3 tie. He hit No. 2 on a 93 mph fastball and it went 399 feet to even the game. That was Castillo’s second hit tonight after he had gone 6-for-10 in his first two games back from the disabled list. After the homer, his batting average for the year was at .361.
For a few seconds in the top of the seventh, it looked like Toronto had taken a 4-3 lead when Justin Smoak swung through a down-and-in 3-2 pitch from Darren O’Day with the bases loaded and two outs. The ball went to the backstop as Chris Coghlan scored. But after a replay review, it was determined the ball hit Smoak as he swung and missed. The strikeout superceded the hit batter and the inning ended on a dead ball. The run was taken off the board and the game went to the last of the seventh even at 3-3.
The Orioles host Toronto in the second game of the series Saturday night at 7:35 p.m., when Kevin Gausman (2-3, 7.19 ERA) pitches against right-hander Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 6.10 ERA).
Postgame clubhouse quotes:
Tillman on his outing: “It was much, much better. Really had one inning where it got away from me. The stuff was much better. I felt good. I could have gone longer. I think we are taking steps every time. This one was by far the best one. Pitch-wise, it was much better. But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Tillman on Castillo and his hot hitting: “He is swinging the bat well. He has been all year so far. No surprise to us what he is capable of doing. Tonight he put on a show.”
Castillo on the at-bat that ended the game: “I don’t have a lot of success against him. I used to face him a lot when he was with the Pirates. He has a really good sinker and really good life on his fastball and a good slider. I knew at some point he would come in with a fastball. He gave me a fastball inside (on the first pitch). Slider for a swing and miss. I never went away from my plan. I was looking something middle-in and he gave it to me and I was able to put my best swing on it.”
Castillo on the big hit and his hot bat: “It felt good to hit a ball like that, especially in the situation we were in. Anything to win a ballgame. This feels great to hit two tonight. Always good to hit a homer. I just don’t try to do too much. I don’t worry about my power, I know it’s going to come. I just try to make good contact.”
Castillo, ever hit a walk-off homer before at any level?: “No, no. That’s it. Hopefully, more comes.”