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Powerful Blue Jays walk way to win over Orioles

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays banged out four homers in the first six innings on Wednesday. But despite all of those round-trippers, it was a timely walk that helped Toronto avoid a series sweep.

Maicer Izturis drew a bases-loaded walk off Jim Johnson with two outs in the top of the 11th inning to give the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before 14,981 on Wednesday at Camden Yards.

The victory ended a streak of 17 consecutive extra-inning wins for the Orioles, dating to last season. It also prevented Baltimore from finishing off a three-game sweep. The Jays had lost six of their last eight before heading to take on the Yankees.

"It would have been a tough game to lose," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "It would have been easy to shut it down and quit competing. But they hung in there [and] got a big, big win. We needed that."

The Jays (9-13) got homers from J.P. Arencibia, Rajai Davis, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista to bring in five of the team's six runs.

Arencibia finished the day 3-for-5 with two RBI and made a big tag at the plate in the bottom of the 10th to prevent the Orioles (12-9) from winning.

"Those guys don't quit," Arencibia said. "We could have done some things different to not even let this game come back, but fortunately we finished with a win. I just think we keep on saying how much a win can do for us and this and that, [but] we've got to clean up our game."

Toronto kept battling and finally broke through in the 11th against Johnson (1-2). Arencibia started the winning rally with a two-out single, and Munenori Kawasaki followed with another single before Johnson hit Brett Lawrie.

That loaded the bases, and Izturis drew a four-pitch walk to score Arencibia with the winning run. The Baltimore bullpen had thrown 9 2/3 straight scoreless innings in this series before that.

"You just try to look for a pitch to drive the ball to the middle," Izturis said. "I just wanted to stay patient on the play."

Johnson had retired the first three batters he faced before running into that 11th-inning jam. Izturis never needed to swing on that four-pitch walk.

"Just had a hard time throwing a strike," Johnson said. "I lost the feel and obviously that's a terrible way, the game."

Casey Janssen came on in the 11th to retire the side in order and post his sixth save.

Baltimore nearly won the game in the bottom of the 10th, but left fielder Davis threw out Manny Machado at the plate after a J.J. Hardy two-out single off Esmil Rogers (1-1).

Hardy lined a shot to left, and Davis charged in and made a throw that easily beat Machado, which let Arencibia make the tag in plenty of time.

"After it released my hand, I felt good about the throw," Davis said. "J.P. made a nice tag, and the rest is history."

Arencibia, Davis, Encarnacion and Bautista all homered off Josh Stinson to ruin the Baltimore right-hander's debut. The blasts helped the Jays take a 5-2 lead at one point, but the Orioles rallied to tie and force extra innings.

Arencibia's two-run homer gave the Jays a 2-1 lead in the second. Davis hit a bases-empty shot in the third, and Encarnacion and Bautista homered on the first pitch of the fourth and sixth, respectively.

Stinson gave up five hits in 5 2/3 innings, but four of them were the homers and accounted for all five of the Toronto runs. This was Stinson's first appearance in an Orioles uniform, and he was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk afterward.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to doubles from Nate McLouth and Adam Jones.

Toronto took the lead on Arencibia's two-run homer and Davis' blast in the third for a 3-1 lead.

Nick Markakis cut the lead to 3-2 with his RBI groundout in the third, Encarnacion then homered on the first pitch in the fourth and Bautista did the same thing two innings later.

The Orioles hadn't gotten a hit since the first but rallied in the seventh. Ryan Flaherty ended starter Brandon Morrow's day with a one-out RBI double to make it 5-3.

Aaron Loup came on and ran into trouble quickly. He got the second out but then gave up an RBI single to McLouth followed by a tying triple from Machado to right center.

NOTES: The Orioles optioned pitcher Alex Burnett to triple-A Norfolk to make room for Stinson before the start of the series finale. Burnett was called up earlier this week but didn't appear in a game. ... After his RBI double in the first, Jones now has reached base in 20 of the team's 21 games this season, including each of the 12 home games. ... Arencibia came into the game tied for first in the American League in homers, and Wednesday's home run gave him the lead at that point. ... Gibbons was thrown out in the top of the ninth after arguing with home-plate umpire Mike DiMuro about his third-strike call on Lawrie.
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