BALTIMORE – For five innings, the Baltimore Orioles were rendered helpless by Brandon Morrow. No walks, no hits, not a single baserunner against the Toronto right-hander.
Then came the sixth.
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer and the Orioles rallied to beat the Blue Jays 6-2 Saturday night.
Chris Tillman (3-4) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings to earn his first win since May 11. Called up from triple-A Norfolk before the game for his third stint with Baltimore, the right-hander struck out five and walked one to help Baltimore secure its third win in 11 games.
Morrow breezed through the first five innings, striking out five and allowing only three balls out of the infield. Forty-four of his 56 pitches during that span were strikes.
In the sixth, however, the Orioles turned a two-run deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Nolan Reimold started the uprising by lining a 3-1 pitch up the middle. That did more than just break up the perfect game; it gave Baltimore hope.
“Usually what happens in a situation like that, if you can just get something positive, the first hit seems to relax everybody and puts him in the stretch for the first time all night, basically,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Or, as Jones put it: “We started to see him more than once. He was dealing, but all good things come to an end.”
One out after Reimold’s hit, Blake Davis singled to right, and Reimould came in when shortstop Yunel Escobar mishandled a potential double-play grounder off the bat of Robert Andino.
After Nick Markakis fouled out, Jones hit an opposite-field drive over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.
Jones thrust his right arm upward as he saw the ball clear the wall, then clapped as he approached second base. It was his 20th homer of the season, a new career high.
“I rarely show emotion hitting home runs, but Tillman battled his tail off,” Jones said. “We haven’t really put up some runs lately, so it was good to take the lead. It was a big home run for the team and for myself, but more importantly it was for Tillman.”
Baltimore pulled away with a two-run eighth. Josh Bell walked and scored on a throwing error by centre-fielder Colby Rasmus, and Jones chased Morrow with an RBI single.
“I missed maybe three pitches all night, two of them in a row to Adam Jones,” Morrow lamented.
Morrow (8-6) gave up six runs, three earned, and four hits in 7 2-3 innings. It was only the seventh time in his 20 starts this season that the right-hander allowed more than three runs.
“I thought Brandon had outstanding stuff tonight, he was dominant. A lot of power, a lot of strikes,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “Unfortunately in the one inning we give them the extra out when the ball skips off the wet surface and stays under Yunel’s glove and ends up bringing Jones to the plate in that inning.”
The start of the game was delayed by rain for one hour 11 minutes. It was raining when the game started and for much of the night.
Rasmus homered for the Blue Jays, his first since coming over from St. Louis as part of an eight-player trade on July 27. But Toronto was unable to do much else against Tillman, who raised his career record to 7-14.
“I had fastball command throughout, which was a good thing. And I found the cutter again. It came back to me,” Tillman said. “I was able to throw the change-up for strikes when I needed to.”
After Rasmus staked Toronto to a 1-0 lead in the second, Tillman retired the next 10 batters – a string that ended with a leadoff walk to Jose Molina in the sixth. A single and a hit batter loaded the bases with no outs before Molina scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Bautista.
NOTES: Baltimore did not strand a runner and Toronto had only two left on. … To clear room for Tillman, Baltimore placed RHP Jake Arrieta on the 15-day disabled list. … Orioles SS J.J. Hardy (ankle) and 1B Chris Davis (shoulder) both missed a second straight game. … The Orioles send Alfredo Simon (3-4) to the mound in the series finale against Toronto lefty Ricky Romero (9-9), who leads the Blue Jays in innings (151), earned-run average (2.98) and wins. Romero is 5-1 in his last seven starts against Baltimore. … The Orioles improved to 1-4 against Toronto in games started by Tillman.