Aaron Hill hit his 100th run batted in of the season to give the Toronto Blues Jays a 6-5 come-from-behind victory in the 11th inning over the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre Tuesday night.
An All-Star for the first time this year, Hill also surpassed a distinctive milestone, turning his 117th double play of the season — the most by any second baseman who has hit more then 30 home runs in a year.
Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion also played a big role in the win, hitting a pair of home runs and three RBIs, keeping the Jays in the game.
Brian Roberts led Baltimore’s hitters going three-for-five with two RBIs and hit his 55th double of the season.
The second baseman’s two-bagger set a Major League record that will likely stand for years — Roberts officially has the most doubles hit by a switch-hitter in a single season.
Both starters, Baltimore’s Mark Hendrickson and Toronto’s Brian Tallet, pitched well but their work was erased in the ninth inning.
Reliever Jim Johnson quickly loaded the bases for Toronto’s Jose Bautista. The Baltimore pitcher promptly hit the Jays’ right fielder, bringing home pinch hitter Adam Lind to tie the game 5-5.
The two teams held each other scoreless for the next two innings.
After Bautista was walked by Dennis Sarfate to start the 11th inning, Hill came to the plate with a career-best 99 RBIs in 2009. Working the count to his advantage, Hill doubled to right-centre field, driving Bautista around from first for the win.
Baltimore had firmly established a 5-2 lead in the eighth, when leadoff hitter Hill was hit by Dany Baez’s pitch. Encarnacion took advantage of the situation, swatting his second homer of the season over the left field wall.
The blast shifted the game’s momentum in favour of the Jays, bringing them within one run at 5-4.
Roberts had opened the scoring in the third inning, when he singled in Michael Aubrey.
In the next at bat, Felix Pie pushed Caesar Izturis across the plate with a sacrifice fly to give the Orioles a two-run lead at the top of the third.
It was short lived.
Hill hit a leadoff home run to start the Jays’ half of the inning, his 33rd of the season. He was followed by Encarnacion, who hit a solo home run to even the score at 2-2.
Catcher Matt Wieters continued his strong season, driving home Pie to re-take the lead in the sixth. He then scored on Ty Wigginton’s two-out single to give the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
Roberts’ record-setting double also drove in Aubrey again, giving Baltimore its fifth run, an insurance score that would come in handy two innings later.
NOTES: Shortstop John McDonald played in place of the injured Marco Scutaro, who had an MRI on his right heel Monday. Although the Blue Jays’ medical staff have yet to diagnose the exact nature of the injury, manager Cito Gaston said on Monday that he does not expect Scutaro to play again this season.