Obtained last winter in a trade with Milwaukee, the 21-year-old Lawrie is the 17th Canadian to play for the Blue Jays. He made an error at third base in the second inning, but it was inconsequential.
What mattered was his first major league hit, which sparked a two-run second inning that enabled Toronto to wipe out an early deficit. The ball was nestled in Lawrie’s locker, but he wasn’t so sure because he could barely see and his ears were stuffed with foam.
“It might be somewhere,” he said. “It might be. I’m still getting stuff out of my ears.”
With his mother, father and sister in the stands, Lawrie put on a memorable performance.
“I’m glad I got the first one out of the way,” he said.
Toronto manager John Farrell was ejected in the seventh for arguing too strongly that Baltimore’s Robert Andino(notes) was running in the baseline on a grounder that resulted in a throwing error by Toronto pitcher Luis Perez(notes). Replays appeared to support Farrell’s assertion.
Although Farrell was forced to watch Lawrie’s second hit on TV, the manager could appreciate the manner in which the rookie handled himself.
“If there weren’t nerves tonight, he wouldn’t be human,” Farrell said. “I’m sure there was some anxiety, some emotion running high. What was most impressive was how he approached each and every at-bat.”
Despite getting a homer from Jones, the Orioles lost for the eighth time in 11 games. Baltimore is 3-7 against Toronto this season and 6-22 versus the Jays since the start of the 2010 season.
Making his first start for Baltimore since being acquired Saturday in a trade with Texas, right-hander Tommy Hunter(notes) (1-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in four innings. He yielded at least one hit in every inning and was lifted after using 78 pitches to get 12 outs.
“I didn’t get ahead, I didn’t finish when I got ahead and when I got behind, I gave up hits,” Hunter said. “There’s really no excuses for it. When they go out and give you two early runs like that, you’ve got to go out and get a couple goose eggs up there, and I didn’t do that tonight.”
The Orioles went up 2-0 in the first when Markakis beat out a grounder and Jones drove a 2-2 pitch into the seats in left. It was his 19th home run, tying a career-high.
Toronto pulled even in the second. Singles by Edwin Encarnacion(notes) and Aaron Hill(notes) preceded Lawrie’s RBI single, a liner up the middle. Yunel Escobar(notes) doubled in a run before Hunter retired Eric Thames(notes) on a hard-hit comebacker.
Mills was cruising until the sixth, when he issued two straight one-out walks. The runners moved up on a passed ball, and a run scored when Lawrie couldn’t handle Matt Wieters’(notes) hot smash to third. The single chased Mills, and Perez retired Nolan Reimold(notes) and Josh Bell(notes) to keep it at 4-3.
Hill hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth before the Orioles cut down two straight runners at the plate.
NOTES: The Orioles are expected to place RHP Jake Arrieta(notes) (elbow) on the 15-day DL on Saturday so they can recall RHP Chris Tillman(notes) from Triple-A Norfolk to start against Toronto. Tillman (2-4) was in the Baltimore clubhouse on Friday. … Toronto will start RHP Brandon Morrow(notes), who has allowed no more than three earned runs in 13 of his 19 starts, on Saturday. … The Orioles will give away Brian Matusz(notes) bobbleheads on Saturday. Matusz was optioned to Norfolk on June 30 and remains there, trying to regain the velocity on his fastball after missing the first two months of the season with a ribcage injury. … Baltimore 1B Chris Davis(notes) was a late scratch with a sore right shoulder.