Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
BALTIMORE --The Baltimore Orioles wasted a number of scoring chances in Thursday's series finale against Toronto. However, Manny Machado came through at the right time and helped the Orioles to a big early-season victory.
Machado continued his April hot streak with two hits, the second being a tie-breaking bloop double in the eighth inning that gave the Baltimore Orioles a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
The Orioles went just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13, but Machado and Joey Rickard combined to help Baltimore (10-4) come up with the winning run in the eighth inning.
Rickard singled with one out, moved to second on Russell Martin's passed ball and scored when Machado blooped a double down the right-field line that fell in between three Blue Jays (8-9) and snapped a 2-2 tie.
That hit let the Orioles take two of three from American League East rival Toronto. It's still early in the season but Baltimore was more than happy to take the series.
"It's been a tough series, back and forth," Machado said. "(The) pitching's been well on both sides. It just gives you a little peek of how the year's going to be. You're going to have to keep battling until the last out."
Machado now has a .407 average after going 2-for-5 on Thursday He also had an RBI double in the first inning.
Rickard, a rookie Rule 5 pick, went 3-for-5 and increased his average to .350. He's hit safely in 13 of the 14 games he's played in so far and given the Orioles a real lift batting lead-off and in left field.
Darren O'Day (1-0) got the win after throwing a scoreless eighth in which he struck out the side, and Zach Britton closed it for his fourth save and the series victory.
"Obviously (the Blue Jays) are going to be competing for the division all year, that's a given," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's the only time you don't have to count on somebody else to beat them. They are very tough to beat."
The Orioles came back from an early two-run deficit, missing several scoring opportunities before finally tying the game at 2-2 on a J.J. Hardy sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Both starting pitchers labored at times early in the game. Toronto starter Marco Estrada needed 104 pitches to make it through five innings but allowed just one run.
"I battled the entire game," he said. "I am just glad I kept the guys in it. I just had no control. For some reason, I kept bouncing it."
Orioles starter Chris Tillman gave up both of his runs in the first inning, facing eight batters, but he bounced back to make it through six.
Tillman allowed only two more hits after the first, but the Orioles couldn't do much on offense early. The right-hander left with Toronto (8-9) holding a 2-1 lead.
"Tillman shut us down," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "That is the best I have seen him in awhile. He was cutting it loose tonight."
The Blue Jays jumped on top quickly, scoring twice in the first. Michael Saunders led off with a single and scored when Josh Donaldson followed with a double to left-center. They added another run on Justin Smoak's bases-loaded walk as Tillman needed 38 pitches to get through the inning.
Machado's first double cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half and the Orioles loaded the bases with no one out, but Estrada escaped without allowing another run.
Both teams missed on scoring chances in the early innings. The Jays left runners in scoring position in the second and fourth while the Orioles stranded two in the third, fourth and fifth.
The fifth inning ended with Matt Wieters being called out on strikes. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino tossed Wieters when the Baltimore catcher complained about the strikeout call.
"I said some things I probably shouldn't have," Wieters said. "Temper got the best of me and boiled over."
NOTES: Baltimore LHP Brian Matusz (left intercostal strain) will likely be activated Saturday in Kansas City after a successful rehab. He was dominant in last minor league outing for Class A Frederick on Tuesday, allowing one hit with nine strikeouts in four innings. ... Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (right shoulder tendinitis) could rejoin the rotation on Monday for a three-game series in Tampa Bay. ... Toronto manager John Gibbons said RHP Jesse Chavez (back) is day to day and getting better. Chavez is moving around and doing various exercising and should not be out much longer, Gibbons said. ... The loss on Wednesday was only the second time in Blue Jays history that they dropped a game because of a passed ball. The other time was April 17, 1991, when Pat Borders was the catcher.