Orioles lose on extra-inning blast

Toronto has hit 33 home runs in 17 games against O's this year

September 25, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

TORONTO — With one swing, Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay delivered the seemingly inevitable Saturday, another Blue Jays' home run and another victory over the Orioles.

Overbay deposited Mark Hendrickson's second pitch of the 11th inning over the right-field wall to give the Jays a walkoff, 5-4 win that marks their 13th-straight victory at Rogers Centre against the Orioles.

It was the Blue Jays' fourth solo homer on the afternoon and, incredibly, their 33rd longball in 17 games versus Baltimore this season. In comparison, the Orioles have gone deep just eight times against the Blue Jays and only once Saturday despite a 19-mph wind that swirled around the open roof at Rogers Centre.

"I went out to the mound and the wind just about picked you up and (took) you out," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "The ball was flying out of here, whether (the roof) is opened, closed or sideways and they don't need help. They certainly have enough power as it is."

The Jays lead the majors with 241 homers, but Overbay's 20th of the season was just the second game-ender by Toronto this season.

"For me personally it's location of pitches. Obviously, I wasn't that great last night and I wasn't good today," said Hendrickson (1-6), who walked one of the three batters he faced in the Orioles' 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday. "It comes down for me as a pitcher to locate my pitches. If I can't locate my pitch, well then you tip your cap, I guess."

The Orioles (61-93) are 3-14 against the Blue Jays (79-75) this season and have dropped 22 of their past 24 games in Toronto. Saturday's loss was as excruciating as any — getting an early 3-0 lead only to watch it slowly evaporate on powerful, isolated swings. The Orioles are now 13-4 in extra innings.

"It was a great baseball game. A fun one to be part of. They did again what they do best, getting the ball out of the ballpark," said Orioles rookie first baseman Brandon Snyder, who had an RBI double for the second consecutive game. "I felt like defensively, offensively we had a pretty good game. It's a tough one to lose."

Starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed just seven hits, walked none and struck out six in 6 1/3. But three of the hits left the ballpark: Aaron Hill hit a home run in the second, Travis Snider in the third and Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh.

"A couple mistakes I made on my part, where I shook (off) the pitches and didn't execute them well enough and allowed them to creep back in the game slowly," said Guthrie, who didn't earn a decision for the first time in 12 starts dating back to July 17 versus Toronto. "Then their pitching did a great job to keep them close so they were always within striking distance."

The only other run Guthrie allowed came in the sixth on an Overbay sacrifice fly, which was set up by a single, a hit batsman and an infield hit that third baseman Ty Wigginton got a glove on but couldn't snag.

"Overall, I thought I threw the ball much, much better than the results ended up being," Guthrie said.

After completing a perfect fifth, Guthrie officially became the first Orioles pitcher since 2000 to reach the 200-inning mark in consecutive seasons. Guthrie threw an even 200 in 2009, which at the time was a career high.

Former Orioles Sidney Ponson and Mike Mussina both passed 200 innings pitched in 1999 and 2000. Mussina, in fact, threw 200 or more innings every season in an Orioles' uniform from 1995 until he left for the New York Yankees following the 2000 season.

"You've got to stay healthy to be able to do it and you have to pitch well deep into games to have that opportunity," Guthrie said. "So I am really pleased and grateful that the past few seasons my body has held up and I have been able to make every start."

Early on, it looked as if Guthrie would get his 11th win of 2010. The Orioles scored three in the second on Snyder's double and two bases-loaded walks issued by Toronto lefty starter Ricky Romero.

Romero had a 3.42 ERA against the Orioles in seven previous starts, but he struggled from the beginning Saturday, facing 13 batters and throwing 57 pitches in the first two innings. He settled by the third, retiring eight of his final 10 batters, but was removed after throwing 105 pitches in five innings.

"I kind of felt like we had him on the ropes, but I've got to give the guy credit," Snyder said. "He bounced back and really changed the tone of the game and started setting us down pretty quick."

The Orioles regained the lead in the seventh on Wigginton's 22nd homer of the season, fittingly a solo shot. After that, four Jays' relievers, including David Purcey (1-1), each pitched a scoreless inning.

Overall, the Orioles left nine runners on base Saturday and 23 in the first two games of this series. One clutch hit here or there could have changed the outcome. Instead, it was Toronto's power that again was the difference.

"We had our fair share of opportunities," Wigginton said. "I think probably everybody had an opportunity today it seemed like. And we just weren't able to get that big hit when we needed it."

Dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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