Home News Orioles win series vs. Blue Jays in extra innings

Orioles win series vs. Blue Jays in extra innings

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TORONTO — When tempers flare and the building shakes, a steady hand becomes paramount.

The Orioles got that from multiple fronts in their 6-5 comeback victory in 10 innings over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. It didn’t just guarantee a series win on the road against a division rival, but it made a statement in a hostile environment in front of a sold-out Rogers Centre.

“This [win] is at the top for me,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Our guys fight, there’s no doubt.”

After driving in the first run of the game with an RBI single in the second, O’Hearn stepped up with two on and two out in the top of the eighth looking for solid contact to cut the Blue Jays’ 5-2 lead. He turned on a low 2-2 slider by closer Jordan Romano, sending it 406 feet to right-center field and tying the game late.

“I was riled up, for sure,” said O’Hearn of the homer. “That’s probably one of my favorite homers.”

It paved the way for Austin Hays to plate Ryan Mountcastle, who was hit on the throw by Matt Chapman as he sprinted from third to home in the top of the 10th, giving reliever Félix Bautista his third win of the season.

The decision to go back out for another inning — with an automatic runner on second, no less — wasn’t a tough one for the hard-throwing righty.

“I told [Hyde that] I felt good and I was ready to go,” Bautista said in Spanish. “He trusted me, and I trusted myself, to go out and finish off those hitters. And that’s what happened.”

That sense of confidence was unwavering and contagious in the Orioles’ clubhouse after the win. Baltimore improved to 17 comeback victories this season, and it reached a 15-8 record on the road, sending the Blue Jays to the AL East basement in the process.

But it wasn’t without tension.

There were overturned calls, bizarre rundowns and tremendous defensive plays — headlined by a Cedric Mullins diving catch that likely saved a run in the first inning. Mullins also hit a solo homer in the third that made it 2-0 Orioles before the Blue Jays pulled away in the middle innings, scoring three runs off a Baltimore bullpen that entered the game with the best bullpen ERA in MLB.

Toronto starter Alek Manoah exchanged some words with Adam Frazier after striking him out in the sixth, then he was pulled from the game at 85 pitches as the Blue Jays made a second mound visit in the same inning, adding to the quirkiness of the affair.

“They’ve got some pretty good batters over there and they do a good job of mixing up the lineup,” said Manoah of the Orioles. “ … Anybody in this division, it’s fun to go out there and compete every night. Everybody is really competitive and everybody is really good. It’s just a pleasure to go out there and be in some dog fights.”

The Orioles kept their focus through the barking, and amid all of it, Grayson Rodriguez also shined.

Rodriguez bounced back from his past start with five innings of two-run ball, striking out six batters on four hits and one walk. It wasn’t a perfect outing, but it provided him with the type of empirical experience he couldn’t have acquired anywhere else.

“That was his best start for me,” said Hyde. “Stuff-wise, I thought he was really good. This is a really tough offensive team to face.”

The only blemish against Rodriguez came from George Springer, who took advantage of one of the righty’s few mistakes and turned it into a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth. Still, Rodriguez kept his poise, getting Bo Bichette to ground out and fanning Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to end the frame.

He didn’t refrain from showing his emotions, though, more than once screaming into his glove after a big strikeout.

“That’s a great team and a loaded lineup,” said Rodriguez. “Emotions were a little high today, going out there and having something to prove from that last outing. … It was a pretty electric atmosphere.”

The chance of a sweep on Sunday hasn’t gone unnoticed, with O’Hearn going as far as calling the finale a “statement” game before the Orioles head for the Bronx next week. For now, though, this team is taking in the importance of a series win against a direct competitor.

“The pressure is on them now,” said Bautista.

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