It took them 12 innings to do it, but the Orioles ended their season-long five-game losing streak Sunday afternoon with a 6-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.
The Orioles will leave Canada having reclaimed first place in the American League East while also avoiding a three-game sweep here in Toronto, where they entered the day having lost five of six this season and allowing an average of 7.5 runs per game.
The Orioles' bullpen kept the Blue Jays bats in check and second baseman Jonathan Schoop broke a 2-2 tie with his 11th game-winning RBI of the season, hitting a run-scoring single off Blue Jays left-hander Franklin Morales with one out in the 12th to score Pedro Alvarez from second base.
Schoop, one of several slumping Orioles hitters, had three hits Sunday after going 1-for-20 in his previous five games.
Center fielder Adam Jones put an exclamation point on the win, hitting a three-run homer on reliever Jesse Chavez’s first pitch. Jones crushed a changeup into the left-center field seats, sending the Rogers Centre crowd to the exits.
The Orioles' bullpen tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Chris Tillman, who allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings.
Down 2-0, the Orioles tied the game in the top of the seventh with a rally fueled by slumping sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, who entered the game a combined 4-for-50 with no home runs over their last seven games.
The Orioles were able to get back into the game by manufacturing a pair of runs that inning, a contrast from the swing-hard-and-circle-the-bases identity that’s gotten them here.
Davis opened the inning working a five-pitch walk, and Trumbo moved him to third on a double that rocketed past third baseman Darwin Barney and into left field.
Davis then scored the Orioles’ first run on Pedro Alvarez’s RBI ground out to second and Matt Wieters plated Trumbo with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Tillman one out shy of a quality start
Tillman, who had previously halted Orioles' losing streaks of five and four games this season, held Toronto to two runs on five hits.
An elevated pitch count forced Tillman out of the game in the sixth inning, one out shy of a quality start after his 111th pitch of the day.
Tillman was chased from the game after hitting Troy Tulowitzki with a full-count fastball and issuing a walk to catcher Russell Martin.
He had trouble with that part of the lineup earlier in the game, too.
Martin ended an eight-pitch at bat against Tillman with a one-out double into right-center field in the second inning and then following Pillar’s infield single, scored from third when second baseman Devon Travis beat out a potential double-play ball on a grounder to short.
Tulowitzki then put Toronto up 2-0 on a solo homer to left to lead off the fourth, an estimated 434-foot blast that hit off the fifth-deck facade of the Rogers Centre.
Tillman hadn’t had much success against the Blue Jays or in Toronto coming into Sunday’s start. He was 5-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 22 career starts against the Blue Jays and his numbers at the Rogers Centre – a 2-6 record and 7.94 ERA in 11 starts – were even worse.
Orioles pen extends game
Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn’t have the opportunity to use his late-inning arms in recent days because the Orioles rarely had a lead deep in the game, but that added rest helped the Orioles extend Sunday’s game.
Making his first appearance since Monday, closer Zach Britton pitched two scoreless innings.
Before Britton held the Blue Jays in check in the ninth and 10th innings, Darren O’Day tossed a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in his first work since Wednesday and right-hander Brad Brach struck out two in a scoreless eighth.
Mychal Givens recovered from a rough outing Saturday with a scoreless 11th, overcoming a one-out walk to Martin by inducing an inning-ending double play from Kevin Pillar.
Newcomer Logan Ondrusek tossed a scoreless 12th to seal the win.
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