Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2
BALTIMORE (AP)—Years from now, when Adam Loewen recalls a few of his finest performances in the major leagues, he probably won’t think about the time he issued seven walks and was lifted with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Loewen combined with three relievers on a seven-hitter, and the Orioles won 5-2 for their seventh win in eight games.
Miguel Tejada drove in two runs and Chris Gomez had two hits and scored twice for the Orioles, who clinched their third straight series win. Baltimore (10-7) is three games over .500 (10-7) for the first time since last April 22.
Loewen (2-0) allowed two runs, five hits and established a career high in walks before leaving with two outs in the sixth. He has walked 19 in 19 1-3 innings this season, but is unbeaten in four starts and owns a respectable 3.72 ERA.
“He used all his pitches and carried us deep enough into the game to get to the pen,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.
That, said Loewen, is pretty much all that matters.
“Right now, it’s about trying to hand the ball off to the bullpen with the lead,” he said. “I did that. I battled my butt off and gave us a chance to win.”
“They held us in check. They walked some guys, (Loewen) got in trouble, but we didn’t get anything out of it,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Their bullpen is rolling, doing the job out there.”
Clayton and Alex Rios each had two hits for the Blue Jays, who bounced into four double plays—including two by Frank Thomas—in their fourth straight loss. Gibbons was ejected in the fifth inning by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi for arguing a strike call on Adam Lind.
“I questioned a strike. That’s part of the game,” Gibbons said.
Down 3-1 in the sixth, the Blue Jays scored a run to chase Loewen, but were left wanting more. With two outs, Loewen walked Lyle Overbay and Aaron Hill before Royce Clayton hit an RBI single. After Loewen walked Jason Phillips to load the bases, Bradford struck out pinch-hitter Jason Smith with a 65 mph curveball.
“I wasn’t worried at all when Bradford came in. Those were my runs out there, and whatever he did was fine,” Loewen said. “I knew he was going to come through.”
Baltimore answered with two runs in the bottom half. Gomez singled and took third when Toronto starter Josh Towers (1-2) fielded a bunt by Paul Bako and threw wildly to second. After Corey Patterson hit an RBI single, Jeremy Accardo struck out Melvin Mora but walked Nick Markakis and Tejada to force in a run.
Patterson wore No. 42 in the team’s belated tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. Major League Baseball marked the event last Sunday, when Baltimore’s game against Kansas City was postponed by rain.
Patterson went 2-for-4 with an RBI in place of leadoff hitter Brian Roberts, who had the flu and was sent home before the game.
The Orioles used four singles to take a 2-0 first-inning lead. Mora and Markakis started the uprising with one-out hits before Tejada and Kevin Millar each singled in a run.
Toronto got a run back in the third when Rios hit a two-out double and scored on a single by Lind, but Baltimore went up 3-1 in fourth on a sacrifice fly by Mora.
Towers allowed five runs and nine hits in five-plus innings against his former team.
“It was a battle throwing the ball,” he said.
Toronto hit into nine DPs in its first 16 games before Saturday. … OF Jay Payton made his Baltimore debut as a defensive replacement in the eighth. … Toronto rookie 3B Ryan Roberts got his first start since having his contract purchased from Triple-A Syracuse on April 17. He went 0-for-1 with a walk before leaving in the sixth. … Gomez, who started at 2B for Brian Roberts, has at least one hit in each of his five starts.