O's comeback: They rally for three in the ninth to beat Toronto, 5-4 (updated)

TORONTO – After 26 innings of mostly frustration on offense this weekend in Toronto, the 27th inning proved quite fruitful for the Orioles today.

Against right-handed All-Star closer Jordan Romano, one of the saves leaders in MLB with 34, the Orioles scored three runs in the ninth on Adley Rutschman’s huge two-run single and an RBI single by Jesús Aguilar.

The Orioles, who never led today until the ninth, beat Toronto 5-4 to salvage the final game of this series.

Winning for just the fifth time in 13 games, the Orioles come home at 76-69, and this win sparked a little life into their flickering playoff hopes.

Romano had recorded 14 consecutive scoreless appearances over 15 innings and had allowed just one earned run this season at home in 28 games. His home ERA of 0.31 was the best among all qualified MLB relievers. 

Down 5-3 to the last of the ninth, Toronto made it interesting, but right-hander Félix Bautista got his 14th save. With two outs, George Springer's double made it a 5-4 game. Then, after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walked, Bautista got Bo Bichette to ground out with two on to end it as the O's finished their dramatic comeback win. 

The ninth began with the Orioles down 3-2. Pinch hitters Kyle Stowers and Ramón Urías both singled to put runners on the corners against Romano. They were loaded when Cedric Mullins walked. Rutschman's two-run hit to left on a 98 mph fastball put Baltimore ahead 4-3. A double play and intentional walk to Gunnar Henderson was followed by Aguilar's big hit for a 5-3 lead.

“Just trying to score as many runs as I could," Rutschman said of his go-ahead hit. "Trying to at least get the guy in from third. Get a good pitch to hit and try and drive it. It was definitely a big moment. You know when you are in the box, you try and relax as much as you can, stick to your approach. You try to not to think about how big a situation it is. You don’t want the situation to get too big. Or get outside your approach."

Rutschman calmly delivered maybe one of the biggest hits of the year. Now the O's head home, not licking their wounds off a sweep, but off a win that makes them now 4-61 when behind after the eighth.

“Yeah, we’re going to try and bring the energy tomorrow and continue to work on our process and do the best we can. Continue to play hard and play together," added Rutschman.

It was quite the comeback by the Orioles, who had lost six of their past seven versus Toronto.

Said manager Brandon Hyde: “One of our better wins of the year. Especially the last couple of days were so disappointing. Felt like we were unlucky in a lot of ways. Give them credit, that’s a great team. But for us to come back against a premier closer with a couple of guys coming off the bench giving us big hits, thought it was a total, total team effort."

And after going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position through eight innings, the Orioles went 2-for-3 with RISP in the ninth.

“I hope we were taking notes," said Hyde. "Because, if you look at the ABs in that inning – Stowers the other way, Urías the other way, Aggie (Aguilar) with a line drive RBI single the other way. That’s how you drive in runs. At times we get too big, but there we were really short to the baseball off a premier guy. Stay on the ball and hit the ball hard the other way. We’re getting better. You’re seeing it from Gunnar, see it from Adley on how they use the whole field. Adley that inning also. That’s a good sign.”

Earlier, the Orioles turned the 15th triple play in club history, and Baltimore starter Dean Kremer did another solid job, allowing just two runs over 5 2/3 innings.

For the Orioles, it was their first triple play since Aug. 3, 2017 versus Detroit. They turned two that year, the other on May 2 at Boston. Before that season, the most recent Orioles triple play was on Sept. 1, 2000 at Cleveland.

This time, the Blue Jays had runners on first and second in the third inning and had just taken a 1-0 lead on Bichette’s RBI single, his second hit this series. Matt Chapman lined a ball to short and Jorge Mateo, playing up the middle, made the catch. He made a quick flip to Terrin Vavra on second and he fired to first for the 6-4-3 triple play.

Springer was hit by a Kremer pitch on the left elbow to start the Toronto third. He was hit with a 91 mph two-seamer in about the same spot as Ryan Mountcastle yesterday. Mountcastle did not play today. A walk to Guerrero put two on with none out before the Bichette single gave Toronto a 1-0 lead. But Chapman’s liner that turned into three outs followed to end that threat.

The Orioles tied the game 1-1 in the fourth on Mateo’s RBI double into the left-field corner, but they were frustrated to leave runners on second and third for the second time in the game.

With one out, singles by Vavra and Austin Hays came ahead of Mateo’s double off a high slider that produced his 48th RBI. But a Robinson Chirinos pop out and Mullins liner to center followed to end that inning. Through the fourth, the Orioles were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position off Alek Manoah, and had left six on base – five in scoring position.

The tie didn’t hold long. With two outs in the home fourth, catcher Danny Jansen’s solo homer to center gave Toronto the 2-1 lead. He hit No. 13 off a 2-2 fastball that went 413-feet to break the tie.

Kremer, who entered with an ERA of 2.72 his past six starts, threw well again, limiting Toronto to two runs despite five walks and the hit batter. 

Manoah was in line to get the win until the ninth after producing his 23rd start of the year allowing two earned runs or less. Over six innings, he gave up four hits and one run with four walks and five strikeouts. He has held the Orioles to two runs over 14 innings in the last two series between the clubs. Over his past six starts, Manoah has an ERA of 1.32.

Guerrero hit a solo shot in the seventh, No. 29, which came off Dillon Tate for a 3-1 lead.

That proved big when Aguilar hit his first O's homer in the eighth off right-hander Adam Cimber. It was No. 16 on the season for Aguilar and made it a 3-2 game.

After starting his time with the Orioles going 3-for-26 heading into the late innings today, Aguilar had huge swings plating runs in the eighth and ninth.

“That’s what I saw him do in Milwaukee all the time against (the Cubs)," said Hyde. "Was pop a homer, runner in scoring position, line drive single the other way. And hopefully that gets him going. He got two key hits for us."

Until the eighth today, the Orioles had been held to eight runs on 19 hits this series. 

But just when it looked liked the O's would lose by that one-run margin and get swept, they rallied for a stunning win.

“We just have to keep grinding. Today was a grind. We, you know, have a tough time having easy wins. Makes us exciting. But yeah, there is a lot of fight in our club and I don’t see it stopping," said Hyde. 

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