BALTIMORE â€” Five months later, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays reprised their winner-take-all post-season showdown.
The stakes weren’t as high, yet the drama was palpable and the game was eerily similar.
Mark Trumbo homered with two outs in the 11th inning, and the Orioles beat Toronto 3-2 Monday for their seventh straight opening-day victory.
Trumbo connected off Jason Grilli (0-1) on a 1-2 slider. When he reached the plate, the reigning major league home run king was doused in water by teammates and cheered heartily by those remaining from a sellout crowd of 45,667.
The game was rematch of last year’s AL wild card playoff, won by Toronto 5-2 on an 11th-inning home run by Edwin Encarnacion. This time, the Orioles prevailed with a game-ending blast.
“It did seem to have a similar feel,” Trumbo said. “I’m glad this one turned out in our favour.”
The Orioles didn’t place a runner in scoring position after the third inning. But with their power-laden lineup, one swing is all it takes to win a tight game like this.
Trumbo provided it.
“We have a lot of confidence that, if we get enough chances, we’ll be able to do some damage,” Trumbo said. “I’m just happy to come through and take us home.”
The 25th opening day at Camden Yards began in the late afternoon and ended at dusk.
“This is one of those places you don’t feel good when they get the last at-bat,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “They are probably the top power hitting team in the game, top to bottom. They can do that at home.”
Tyler Wilson (1-0), the fourth Baltimore reliever, pitched one shutout inning.
Grilli threw 15 pitchers, the last of which he lamented the most.
“I just left it fat. It was obviously not a good one,” he said. “You make a mistake and you pay for it.”
Booed from introductions to his final at-bat, Toronto’s Jose Bautista went 0 for 5 with a walk. He grounded into an inning-ending double play in the ninth with the score tied and runners on first and second.
Starting on opening day for the first time, Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada also received his first opening day start. The 10-year veteran allowed two runs over six innings and retired his last 10 batters.
Baltimore went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position over the first two innings, wasting doubles by Adam Jones and Welington Castillo.
That trend ended in the third. Newcomer Seth Smith doubled and Jones walked, Chris Davis delivered an RBI single and Trumbo followed with a run-scoring double.
Toronto got a run back in the fifth when Gausman issued three walks, the last to Kendrys Morales with the bases loaded.
The Blue Jays pulled even in the sixth. After Gausman gave up a one-out single to Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera hit an RBI double off Mychal Givens.
WHAT A PLAY
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado thrilled the crowd in the 11th inning, diving near the bag to snare a grounder before throwing a side-armed toss on one knee to retire Devon Travis by a step at first base. He received a standing ovation.
“Who else makes that throw?” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Nobody.”
Toronto centre fielder Kevin Pillar lost the grip on his bat on successive swings in the eighth inning, launching it into the stands on the third-base side on both occasions. A fan made a nice catch on the first one, and the second dropped from without evidently hurting anyone.
Blue Jays: Toronto hoped to avoid placing RHP Roberto Osuna (cervical spasm) on the 10-day DL, but relented Sunday. “We expected and he expected for it to improve with him continuing to pitch,” GM Ross Atkins said. “It didn’t, so we thought it was in his best interest and ours to see if we could get it completely out of there.”
Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (respiratory infection) will pitch a simulated game Tuesday. He hopes to come off the DL to start Sunday against the Yankees.
Blue Jays: J.A. Happ (20-4 in 2016) starts Wednesday night in the finale of the two-game series. He’s 4-3 against Baltimore.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (10-6) makes his 15th career start Wednesday, the first against Toronto.
David Ginsburg, The Associated Press