Orioles outlast Blue Jays 2-1 in 12 innings
BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles had to go into extra innings to earn a victory that seemed assured far earlier in the night.
Working overtime, however, did nothing to temper the enjoyment they derived from a 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
Steve Lombardozzi tripled and scored on a single by David Lough in the 12th inning for the Orioles, who also got a key RBI from rookie Jonathan Schoop.
Toronto trailed 1-0 with two outs in the ninth when Colby Rasmus hit a solo homer off Tommy Hunter on a 1-2 pitch. After nearly going around on a check swing one pitch earlier, Rasmus drove a 98 mph fastball into the right-field seats.
''He hit a pretty good fastball,'' Hunter said. ''Sometimes you just tip your cap. He swung at a ball that was up. It was where I wanted. We talked about it afterward. One-run ballgame, you should probably throw the ball down and away instead of up, and he hit it.''
In the 12th, Lombardozzi hit a one-out drive to center off Todd Redmond (0-1) before Lough sliced an opposite-field liner to left. As soon as Lombardozzi crossed the plate, the Orioles sprinted from the dugout to embrace Lough, who scored Baltimore's other run five innings earlier.
''It looked like we were going to wrap it up there but unfortunately they got a run,'' Lough said. ''But we just buckled down, stayed in the game, kept our heads up and we were able to come through with the hit.''
Zach Britton (2-0) got the win with two hitless innings of relief.
It was the second straight low-scoring affair between two AL East foes known for their offensive prowess. On Friday night, Toronto scored two unearned runs in a 2-0 victory.
In this one, neither starter allowed a run and neither got a victory for the effort. Bud Norris gave up five hits and three walks over seven innings for Baltimore and was poised to earn his first win of the season before Rasmus connected in the ninth.
''It didn't really do nothing for us,'' Rasmus lamented. ''Most of the time when I face a guy who throws 98 (mph), I'm going to look for the fastball hoping that guy's going to challenge.''
Drew Hutchison handcuffed the Orioles on four hits over six innings, walking two and striking out five.
''I have all the confidence in the world in our offense, just like the rest of our team does,'' the right-hander said. ''It doesn't change my mindset one bit. My job is to go out and put up zeros.''
After Hutchison left, the Orioles struck in the seventh against right-hander Neil Wagner. Lough singled with two outs before Schoop, the No. 9 hitter, lined a 3-2 pitch into the alley in right-center for an RBI double.
Evan Meek protected the lead in the eighth, but Hunter gave it away for his first blown save in four tries this season.
''You hopefully get a chance tomorrow,'' Hunter said. ''The guys pulled it off, the team came through in the 12th. It's not a one-man show. There are a lot of guys, and I got picked up tonight.''
The game featured the first replay challenge at Camden Yards. In the fourth inning, Lombardozzi reached on a grounder when umpire Chris Conroy ruled that a throw from Hutchison pulled first baseman Edwin Encarnacion off the bag. Toronto manager John Gibbons challenged the call, and after a delay of 2 minutes, 38 seconds, the decision stood.
Lough followed by hitting into an inning-ending double play.
Both teams threatened in the third. Toronto put runners at the corners with one out before Maicer Izturis hit a short flyball and Jose Bautista struck out.
In the bottom half, Hutchison struck out Chris Davis and Adam Jones after giving up successive one-out singles to Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.
NOTES: Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2, 6.75 ERA) seeks his first win with the Orioles on Sunday. Mark Buehrle (2-0, 0.64) will pitch for Toronto, which is 0-3 in series finales. ... Toronto SS Jose Reyes (hamstring) ran the bases, said he felt ''very good'' and expects to start a rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Dunedin on Monday. If all goes well, he could join the Blue Jays next Friday in Cleveland. Also, closer Casey Janssen (oblique) will pitch in Dunedin on Monday or Tuesday, Gibbons said. ... Orioles SS J.J. Hardy returned from a five-game absence with back spasms. ... Toronto's Melky Cabrera has hit in 12 straight games, tied with Vernon Wells (2006) for the longest streak in franchise history to start a season. ... It was the first time this season that a Blue Jays starter was not involved in the decision.