Chris Davis hit his MLB-leading 50th home run in the top of the eighth inning, Danny Valencia added an insurance RBI-single, and the Baltimore Orioles (78-69) defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 at the Rogers Centre Friday night.
It was a crucial win for the Orioles who entered the evening in the playoff hunt, 2.5 games back of the American League wild card spot.
Reliever Tommy Hunter (5-4) picked up the win for Baltimore while Jim Johnson notched his 44th save of the season. Steve Delabar took the loss for the Blue Jays, whose bullpen allowed five earned runs after the sixth inning.
Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus each homered for Toronto (67-80) who blew an early 3-0 lead.
Todd Redmond (3-2) pitched a strong 6.1 innings, allowing one earned run and striking out seven for the Blue Jays but picked up the no-decision after the bullpen failed to protect the lead.
“He threw a whale of a game we just didn’t get any outs,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after the game.
Reliever Dustin MgGowan inherited a 3-0 lead with a runner on base, but allowed two earned runs in the top of the 7th, blowing a potential win for Redmond.
First, he allowed an RBI double to Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Then, after walking Ryan Flaherty, he allowed a 2-run double to Steve Clevenger scoring both Hardy and Flaherty. Sergio Santos relieved McGowan, striking out Manny Machado to end any further damage.
But Davis would continue adding to his remarkable year and regain the lead for Baltimore in the next inning after taking a fastball from Delabar to left-centre field for a solo shot.
With the home run, Davis became just the third player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs and 40 doubles in the same season, joining Babe Ruth and Albert Belle as the only other players to do so.
Ruth accomplished the feat in 1921 for the Yankees, while Belle did it in 1995 for the Cleveland Indians.
“He’s having a great year,” Gibbons said. “He’s so strong he hits them anywhere. It’s got nothing to do with the park here. Some guys will get some cheapies here. He doesn’t get any cheapies.”
Orioles starter Jason Hammel made his first start since July 28, allowing three earned runs in five innings of work, picking up the no-decision.
Lind started off the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-run home run (his 20th of the season), scoring Edwin Encarnation. Rasmus would add a solo shot (his 19th) in the next inning to give the Jays a 3-0 lead before everything fell apart for Toronto.
The Jays threatened in the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and third, but Hunter struck out catcher J.P. Arencebia to end the inning.
Encarnation returned to the Jays lineup after missing the last four games with a wrist injury.