Fans sitting in the left and right field bleachers were kept busy catching home run balls Friday night at Camden Yards.
The Baltimore Orioles (62-98) won the rain-delayed slugfest over the Toronto Blue Jays (75-85) 13-7, to open a season-ending three-game set.
Orioles’ rookie Michael Aubrey’s grand slam in the sixth inning, his second homer of the night, gave Baltimore a 13-4 lead and put the game out of Toronto’s reach. The Jays have won only once in Maryland in six tries this year.
That first Aubrey blast was a two run homer in the fifth and his six RBIs on the night also led all batters.
In the ninth inning, Toronto shortstop John McDonald tagged a ball to right-centre field for a double.
The next batter was right fielder Jose Bautista, who took a Chris Ray offering that just cleared the left field barrier to give the Blue Jays a short lived rally at 13-7.
Early power from both sides
In the fourth inning there were three home runs that went over the left field fence.
Jays’ third baseman Edwin Encarnacion was the first to send a ball deep into the seats and then it was Randy Ruiz’s turn, tying the contest at four.
In the bottom half of the inning, rookie catcher Matt Wieters took a David Purcey (1-3) offering over the wall to give Baltimore a 7-4 lead.
Orioles’ rookie starter Jason Berken (6-12) was just good enough to earn the victory. He retired the first seven batters he faced, but ran into some trouble of his own in the fourth, but was bailed out by his sluggers.
In five innings Berken allowed four runs, all of them earned, on five hits. He struck out a batter and walked another.
Also contributing to the Orioles offence were Nick Markakis, who went three-for-four with two RBIs and scored twice, Cesar Izturis went three-for-five and scored three times and Wieters went two-for-five with three RBIs and crossed home plate twice.
Purcey (1-3) didn’t start off well allowing three runs to cross the plate. The big play of the first inning came when Markakis hit a ground rule double that scored Roberts and Izturis.
Purcey, the rookie lefthander, lasted three and two thirds, allowing seven runs, all of them earned, on eight hits, walking two batters and recording a strike out.
In relief of Purcey, the Blue Jays used three pitchers. Josh Roenicke didn’t fair much better, going one and a third, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out two.
Dirk Hayhurst pitched two innings allowing four runs. He also walked a batter and struck one out. Randy Wolfe pitched one inning without allowing a run or a hit. He also recorded a strike out.
Notes: Adam Lind tied for first in the American League with eight home runs in September … Aaron Hill needs three more homers to set the AL record for most long balls hit by a second baseman. Currently it’s held by Alfonso Soriano of the Detroit Tigers with 39 in 2002.