Bautista’s two-run home run off O’Day in the eighth inning of a tied game proved to be the difference Saturday, as the surging Blue Jays (37-36) won their 10th straight game and sent the Orioles (42-33) to just their second series loss in their past 11 series. It also marked just the second time the Orioles have lost back-to-back games since May 20.
The Blue Jays, who were 10 games below .500 at the beginning of June, have a winning record for the first time this year. And with all five teams in the American League East now above .500, the division is as competitive as ever.
Bautista’s home run symbolized the intensity in this series, both because of its impact on the outcome of Saturday’s game and because of what happened immediately after he hit it in front of an announced crowd of 43,261 at Rogers Centre — the Orioles’ largest road crowd of the season.
Seven of the nine games between the two teams this year have been decided by two runs or less, including each of the last four. Saturday’s loss was the Orioles third-straight against the Blue Jays.
On Friday night, O’Day struck out Bautista to end the seventh inning with the go-ahead run on second base in a tied game. After Bautista swung threw a full-count pitch, O’Day pumped his fist in excitement and said something into the air, to which Bautista took offense.
That carried over into Saturday afternoon. As Bautista rounded third base after his homer, he gestured to O’Day with his hand, mimicking a talking mouth. O’Day responded with words of his own.
“I told him just to keep talking like he was yesterday because he kind of ran his mouth a little bit after he struck me out,” Bautista said. “I don't know where that came from, but I didn't appreciate it. I let him know that yesterday, and that's a little reminder today.”
Asked about the exchange, O’Day wouldn’t comment, only saying that it was an intense moment between two competitive players.
“It’s two competitive people competing,” Showalter said. “Darren has gotten him some and [Bautista’s] gotten him here and there. [They’re] two very competitive people who are trying to do well for their team. We’re very lucky to have Darren.”
Bautista, who entered the game hitting just .189 in June, said O’Day stared at him coming off the mound Friday and said something to him, which he couldn’t hear through the crowd noise.
“I don't have a problem when pitchers celebrate getting a big out in a big inning,” said Bautista, who is now 3-for-12 against O’Day in his career with three homers and five strikeouts. “But when you're staring at me, yelling stuff, and I can't really hear what you're saying, it upset me a little bit.”