Orioles beat Blue Jays 2-1Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tommy Hunter throws against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
BALTIMORE (AP) Long after the game ended, Eric Thames was staring into his locker. His head was lowered, and he couldn't bring himself to peel off any part of his uniform except for his jersey.
He didn't care that his long home run accounted for all of Toronto's offense Tuesday night in a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. What mattered was that he had chance to catch a drive to left field by Matt Wieters and couldn't bring the ball down.
With the score tied at 1 in the fourth inning, Wieters hit an opposite-field liner that Thames tracked on the run. As he leaped to make the catch, his upper body hit the wall and the ball bounced off his glove and into the stands.
''I was at the top of the wall and I reached up to catch it and it was off my glove and into the seats. It's as simple as that,'' Thames said. ''It all happened so fast. In my glove. I heard the crowd and I looked up saw it was in the seats. Of course, intense anger.''
It turned out to be last run in an intense pitching duel between Baltimore's Tommy Hunter and Toronto right-hander Henderson Alvarez.
''Off the bat I had a feeling it was going to be one that I had a chance to rob, and it was,'' Thames said. ''Didn't bring it down.''
Wieters didn't really care how it got over the wall.
''It's nice to get a little help,'' he said. ''I don't think anyone will remember that in a few years. Any help I can get, I'll take.''
Hunter (2-1) allowed one run, three hits and three walks in six innings. The only runner to get past first base against the right-hander was Thames.
The four relievers who followed allowed two hits and a walk.
''Those guys came in and it was quick and it was effective and they got the job done,'' Hunter said. ''Tip your cap to those guys. They've been good all year and hopefully they continue to do it.''
Pedro Strop pitched the ninth for his first career save. Baltimore's usual closer, Jim Johnson, spent Monday night in a hospital and remained there Tuesday with flulike symptoms and was unavailable.
Alvarez (0-2) took the loss despite allowing five hits over seven innings.
''He pitched exceptionally well. He did his job,'' Toronto manager John Farrell said.
Alvarez deserved better, but it's tough to win when your offense doesn't put a single runner in scoring position. And, of course, there was that play by Thames.
''It's one of the breaks that didn't go our way,'' Farrell said.
After Wieters' homer, the Orioles didn't get a runner past first base the rest of the way. But it didn't matter, because the Blue Jays were unable to score more than one run for the first time this season.
''Tommy got us deep in the game and we were able to pass the load around and put people in positions they were equipped to handle,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Toronto was coming off a four-game sweep of Kansas City and looking to improve on its 6-1 road record. Instead, the Blue Jays lost to Baltimore for the third time in four games over a 12-day span after going 12-6 against the Orioles in 2011.
Leadoff batters in an inning were 1 for 19 against Alvarez until Endy Chavez opened the game with a single. The Orioles subsequently loaded the bases with no outs but scored only one run, on a double-play grounder by Adam Jones.
Thames led off the third with his first home run, a shot to right field that landed on Eutaw Street in front of the B&O Warehouse.
NOTES: Showalter said Orioles LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, who's been on the DL since the start of the season, ''has an elbow issue, problems with the ligament. ... We will contemplate, along with him, what the next direction (is) to take. But it showed some damage in there with the ligament that didn't show up in the physical he took when he signed.'' ... Baltimore signed utility player Bill Hall to a minor league contract. Hall was released by the Yankees earlier this month. ... The Orioles intend to place 2B Robert Andino on the paternity leave list on Wednesday and probably keep him there on Thursday. Andino was expected to leave the team after Tuesday's game to join his pregnant wife in Florida. ... Baltimore LHP Jason Hammell (2-0, 2.37 ERA) faces Toronto RHP Kyle Drabek (2-0, 2.00 ERA) on Wednesday. ... The Blue Jays were seeking to move six games over .500 on the road for the first time since 2003.