Victimized by the long ball for much of the season, the Baltimore Orioles used a power surge of their own to take the lead against Toronto.
Then, after the Blue Jays fought back to tie, a 200-foot, opposite-field flare made the difference in Baltimore’s 6-4 victory on Saturday night.
Despite getting three hits from Vladimir Guererro Jr. and home runs from Freddy Galvis and Reese McGuire , Toronto had its five-game winning streak end.
Held hitless by Thomas Pannone through four innings, the Orioles took their first lead of the series with a four-run fifth. Villar homered to left, Stevie Wilkerson and Hanser Alberto singled and Mancini sent a drive into the center-field seats for his team-leading 26th home run.
After Toronto pulled even with two runs in the top of the seventh, Baltimore restored its lead in the bottom half. The first two batters reached against Buddy Boshers (0-1) before Alberto poked a single to right off Justin Shafer to put the Orioles ahead for good.
“There’s nothing sexier than a base hit the other way with a runner in scoring position,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Love it. Seriously, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Alberto said: “Obviously, with two strikes, I don’t want to take a big swing. I want to put the ball in play. So I did.”
Mancini added a run-scoring groundout to help the Orioles improve to 16-38 at home after they lost the first two games of the series by a combined 16-4 score.
Mychal Givens (2-5) worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Paul Fry got three outs for his third save.
Toronto was riding its longest winning streak of the season and striving to win a sixth straight on the road for the first time since 2014.
Pannone went six innings, allowing four runs with a career-high nine strikeouts.
“That club is a good hitting club. It happens. Third time around, they saw him pretty good,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “But he only gave up four hits.”
Toronto right fielder Derek Fisher left in the first inning after a fly ball deflected off his glove onto his face in the vicinity of his mouth. He was playing in his second game with the Blue Jays after being acquired in a trade with Houston on Wednesday.
He was sent to the hospital to make sure there was no fracture.
THERE IT GOES
The Orioles tendency to yield long balls has become a recurring theme during a rebuilding season. Baltimore has surrendered 216 home runs, by far the most in the majors.
“It’s real. We give up a ton of home runs. It’s pretty annoying,” Hyde said. “But it’s where we are. We play in a hitter’s ballpark in the American League East, and a lot of times we just don’t execute well.”
Baltimore recalled RHP Branden Kline from Triple-A Norfolk and designated INF José Rondón for assignment, less than a week after claiming him off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. The move left the Orioles with 14 pitchers. “We wanted enough coverage, bullpen-wise,” Hyde said.
Blue Jays: RHP Nick Kingham (left oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day IL. Toronto recalled 22-year-old RHP Yennsy Diaz from Double-A New Hampshire. … Closer Ken Giles, who hasn’t pitched since July 27 because of right elbow inflammation, might be ready to return on Sunday. … C Luke Maile (oblique) is ready to begin rehabbing in Florida. There is no timetable for his return.
Orioles: Reliever Miguel Castro has been “under the weather,” according to Hyde. He last pitched on Tuesday. … LHP John Means (biceps strain) will come off the injured list to face the Yankees on Wednesday night. … OF Dwight Smith Jr. (left calf strain) is progressing, but “not there yet,” Hyde said.
Blue Jays: RHP Sean Reid-Foley (1-1, 2.55 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season in the series finale Sunday. He gave up five runs (three earned) in two innings on April 1 in his only appearance against Baltimore.
Orioles: After the game, Hyde announced that Jimmy Yacabonis will serve as the opener, to be followed by RHP Tom Eshelman (0-2, 6.35), who’s searching for his first major league victory in his debut season.
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