This time not only did Darren O’Day’s escape act keep a team off the board but it may have served to provide some momentum for the Orioles offense. After O’Day stranded the bases loaded in the eighth this afternoon, the O’s scored three in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie and beat Toronto 5-3. Manny Machado added three hits and two RBIs.
With the game tied 2-2 in the eighth, O’Day was able to get out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by striking out Russell Martin, Dioner Navarro and Kevin Pillar. It was yet another escape act by the O’s right-hander.
Opponent batters are 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts this year when batting against O’Day with the bases loaded, and he lowered his ERA to 1.00.
Chris Davis lead off the ninth with a single to right field off lefty Aaron Loup. After Nolan Reimold struck out, J.J. Hardy reached fist on a fielder’s choice and then Ryan Flaherty was hit by a pitch to put two on base. Caleb Joseph hit a go-ahead, two-out RBI single to score Hardy from second and give the O’s a 3-2 lead.
Machado added some insurance runs with a two-out, two RBI double to make it 5-2. That double was the second of the day for Machado, who finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Lefty Zach Britton gave up two infield singles to start the bottom half of the ninth. Danny Valencia eventually scored on Jose Bautista’s one-out RBI single to center field. But Britton got Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a double play to end the game and give the O’s the victory.
Britton now has 19 saves in 20 chances and the Orioles bullpen has allowed just three runs over its last 43 1/3 innings.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first when Machado doubled to lead off and later scored on an Adam Jones groundout. Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on an Encarnacion sac fly for a 1-1 tie.
Martin was hit by a Kevin Gausman pitch, and a single followed to start Toronto’s second frame, sending Martin to third. He scored on a wild pitch for a 2-1 lead.
But Gausman settled down after those early runs were scored to pitch five innings in his first big league start of the year. He allowed four hits and two runs, retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced, and he threw 91 pitches. After allowing that second run in the second inning, Gausman got three straight popouts with runners on first and third and no outs to escape the jam and it seemed to turn around his outing for the better.
The Orioles evened the score at 2-2 in the top of the sixth. Machado singled with one-out and went to third on Travis Snider’s ground-rule double. He scored on a Delmon Young sac fly on a close play at the plate.
With the win, their first in five tries this year at Rogers Centre, the Orioles are 35-33 with 10 wins in their last 13 games and 12 in the last 16. They are 21-19 in AL East games. The Orioles snapped Toronto’s nine-game home win streak.
In the series finale on Sunday afternoon, Chris Tillman (5-7, 5.58 ERA) pitches against right-hander Scott Copeland (1-1, 2.57 ERA). Copeland was a 21st-round draft pick of the Orioles in 2010, but the club released him in July of 2012, when he was 3-8 with an ERA of 6.88 at Single-A Frederick.