Since coming up from the minors earlier this summer, rookie Glenn Gulliver has maintained an on-base percentage of .416, largely by drawing bases on balls.
But the seventh inning of tonight's game was no place for walking, not even for Gulliver, who has three more walks than hits. Gulliver smashed a two-run double to start the six-run seventh that carried the Orioles to an 8-3 victory over Toronto and extended Baltimore's winning streak to five games.
Those were Gulliver's first major league runs batted in, after 21 games, and stood up to be the game-winning RBI.
"I guess it did take a long time to get the first RBIs," Gulliver said. "I don't know how to explain it. I was thinking, 'When am I gonna get some (RBI)?' and it was a good pitch."
It was pitcher Mike Flanagan's 10th lifetime victory and ninth complete game in 10 starts against the Blue Jays at Memorial Stadium. He is 15-4 against Toronto, overall.
Flanagan's mastery of Toronto seemed in danger in the second inning, when Toronto scored three runs on four hits -- two of them coming on checked swings -- to take a 3-0 lead.
Anthony Johnson's three-run, check-swing home run scored Willie Upshaw and Leon Roberts, who had a check-swing ground rule double down the right field line.
"Even though they got three runs, I made one bad pitch -- the one to Johnson -- and he hit it for a home run. But I knew I couldn't give up one more run, or I'd be gone."
Flanagan (10-10) gave up no runs and only four hits -- all of them singles -- through the last seven innings.
Two of those singles came in the fourth, but Flanagan and his infield teammates erased one hit with a wild rundown play. Johnson, who already had been caught stealing nine times in 12 attempts, nearly got picked off on each of two Flanagan tosses to first.
On the fourth attempt, Flanagan caught Johnson between first and second, but the Orioles prolonged what should have been a routine rundown. The Baltimore infielders needed seven throws (not counting Flanagan's) before Eddie Murray finally ran Johnson back to first and tagged him. "I thought we were trying to set a record," said Flanagan.
The Orioles, who got only two hits through the first five innings, pulled within 3-2 in the sixth on Ken Singleton's 11th home run and consecutive doubles by Murray and John Lowenstein.
Rick Dempsey (three hits) started the seventh with a single. Rich Dauer moved him to second with a ground ball to third. "I thought that would be the big play of the inning," Flanagan said.
Al Bumbry singled, Dempsey stopping at third, and Gulliver drove in both runners with a double that rolled around the left field wall while Toronto outfielder Johnson chased the ball in confusion. That gave Baltimore a 4-3 lead.
Singleton's single and Murray's double produced the inning's third run. And Cal Ripken's two-run single, scoring Murray and Lowenstein, who had walked, made it 7-3. Finally, Dempsey's second hit of the inning ended the scoring.
Said Dempsey: "I've got a feeling we're going to win 15 more in a row just like this."
Baltimore gained a half-game on first-place Milwaukee, which was idle, and trails the Brewers by 6 1/2. "If we can close in to three or four games and still have seven left with Milwaukee, we'll be in good shape," said Singleton. "I think it's the mark of a good club when you can come back and we've done it lately."