Markakis’s single lifts O’s in ninth


Chris Davis (L) celebrates with Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles after Markakis drove in Davis for the winning run to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Monday. (Rob Carr/GETTY IMAGES)
April 22, 2013

On a frigid night at Camden Yards, the Baltimore Orioles’ first game against the Toronto Blue Jays this season had very little scoring, but it included a dramatic ending.

The Orioles orchestrated their second walk-off win in five games on Nick Markakis’s game-winning single with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning for a 2-1 win over Toronto.

Markakis slapped the game-winning hit the opposite way into left field off Blue Jays left-handed reliever Aaron Loup, scoring Chris Davis from third base as the Orioles’ dugout cleared to mob Markakis at first base.

“That's the beautiful thing about home-field advantage,” Markakis said. “You get the last out of the ball game, and it came down to the last strike there. It was a tough battle the whole game. It was cold out. It was tough to get things going.”

The win, which was the Orioles’ fourth in the past five games, came after Toronto shortstop Munenori Kawasaki’s throw went into the dirt and away from first baseman Edwin Encarnacion on what would have been an inning-ending groundout by second baseman Alexi Casilla.

Loup hit Davis with the first pitch of the ninth inning, and Davis moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from J.J. Hardy. Two batters later, the Blue Jays intentionally walked Nolan Reimold to pitch to Casilla.

Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who hadn’t lasted more than 51 / 3 innings in any of his previous three starts this season, held the Blue Jays scoreless for his first six innings and allowed just one run and four hits, striking out three and walking three over a season-high 62 / 3 innings, tying him for the longest start by an Orioles starter this season.

“That was an impressive outing,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “To have that kind of command of the curveball and off-speed pitches on a night where [it's hard to get] the feeling in your fingers, ball's slick. That was pretty impressive. I'm proud of him.”

In the sixth inning, the Orioles broke through against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, who held the Orioles to just one hit in his first five innings Monday.

After Manny Machado led off the inning with a single that dropped just in front of a diving Colby Rasmus in center field, he moved to second on a single from Adam Jones, then went to third on a wild pitch.

Davis’s sacrifice fly to deep right ended the scoreless tie, scoring Machado from third and giving Davis his team-high 22nd RBI of the season.

Despite not factoring in the decision, Tillman recorded his first quality start since Sept. 28, 2012, when he held the Boston Red Sox to one run over eight innings.

He attacked the Blue Jays lineup aggressively, throwing first-pitch strikes to five of the first seven batters he faced and 15 of 26 on the night.

“He had all his pitches working,” Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said about Tillman. “He had four pitches he could throw for strikes, and we really didn't break out the cutter until late in the game, which is nice. When you can have his fourth pitch stay in the bag, so to speak, until the third time in the lineup, gives you a lot of weapons to use late in the game. He got a lot of first-pitch outs and was able to throw strikes early.”

In the seventh inning, the Blue Jays tied the game with a two-out RBI single by Rasmus through the hole on the right side of the infield, scoring Encarnacion from second.

That would be the final batter Tillman would face. Darren O’Day entered the game and walked Brett Lawrie to load the bases before striking out Emilio Bonifacio swinging on a full-count pitch.

Heading into the seventh, Tillman had allowed just one Toronto hit — a second-inning single by Adam Lind. He had retired 12 of 14 Blue Jays batters and faced just one batter over the minimum in that span. He also issued three walks and was aided by two double plays.

Happ was equally efficient in a no-decision. After Markakis’s single to lead off the bottom of the first inning, he didn’t allow another hit until Casilla’s two-out infield single in the fifth. He had six strikeouts through the first three innings and gave up one run in six innings overall.

The Orioles had the go-ahead run in scoring position against Toronto reliever Steve Delabar in the eighth inning, but they couldn’t score. Machado reached on a one-out walk and stole second, but Delabar struck out Jones and Wieters to end the inning.

— Baltimore Sun

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