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Bases-loaded walk, four homers help Blue Jays edge Orioles

Associated Press

4/24/2013 8:12:58 PM

BALTIMORE -- The Toronto Blue Jays bashed four home runs, then scored the decisive run without taking a swing.

Jim Johnson walked Maicer Izturis with the bases loaded in the 11th inning, and the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 6-5 Wednesday to avert a three-game sweep and end Baltimore's run of consecutive extra-inning victories at 17.

"It would have been a tough game to lose. It was a big game to win," said Toronto manager John Gibbons, who was ejected in the ninth inning after his team blew a 5-2 lead in the seventh.

With two outs in the 11th, J.P. Arencibia and Munenori Kawaski singled before Johnson (1-2) hit Brett Lawrie with a pitch and issued a four-pitch walk to Izturis, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup.

"I just had a hard time throwing a strike," Johnson said. "Kind of lost feel, and obviously that's a terrible way to lose a game."

Izturis said: "I just tried to look for a pitch and drive it up the middle. But he threw high fastballs, so on 2-0 I tried to be patient and make him throw strikes."

That didn't happen, and the last-place Blue Jays got out of town with a much-needed win.

"When you are struggling as a team and you have a lead and it evaporates, it's hard," Gibbons said. "We haven't played great baseball, but we haven't been swept."

One night earlier, the Orioles won their 100th consecutive game when leading after the seventh inning. In this one, their streak of extra-inning wins -- 16 of which came last year -- came crashing to a halt. It was the longest run since the Pittsburgh Pirates won 21 straight in 1959-60.

"It's not something I dwell on," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I know our guys don't. But I understand how it's noteworthy."

Esmil Rogers (1-1) pitched the 10th and Casey Janssen got three straight outs for his sixth save.

Nate McLouth had two hits, walked twice and scored three runs for the Orioles, who went 6-3 on a homestand against Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto.

"When you can win any series, especially in your division, that's big. So we'll take it," Johnson said. "This is not going to dampen our spirits."

Baltimore missed a chance to win it in the 10th when Manny Machado was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Rajai Davis while trying to score from second on a single by J.J. Hardy.

The Blue Jays hit all four homers off Josh Stinson, who was called up from the minors earlier in the day to make his Baltimore debut. Stinson gave up only five hits in 5 2-3 innings, but those included a two-run drive by Arencibia and solo shots by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Davis.

In his previous 20 big league games, with the Mets in 2011 and Milwaukee last year, Stinson allowed only two homers in 22 1-3 innings.

He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.

Toronto starter Brandon Morrow took a two-hitter and a 5-2 lead into the seventh, but the right-hander failed in his bid to earn his first win of the season.

With one out, Nolan Reimould walked and Ryan Flaherty chased Morrow with an RBI double. Aaron Loup got an out before yielding an RBI single to McLouth, who scored on a triple by Machado.

Morrow gave up three earned runs and three hits -- all of them doubles -- in 6 1-3 innings.

Gibbons didn't go the distance, either. He received his first ejection of the year after resuming an argument started by Lawrie over a called third strike.

"Basically, I was going out there to keep him from being thrown out," the manager said.

The Orioles got a first-inning run when McLouth hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out double by Adam Jones, who improved to 12 for 29 (.414) with 10 RBIs against Morrow.

Stinson retired the first four batters he faced before walking Melky Cabrera. Arencibia followed with a shot to centre for his fifth home run in the last 10 games.

Davis made it 3-1 in the third with his first homer in 42 at-bats this season. The Orioles got an unearned run in the bottom half after a throwing error by Lawrie from third base.

Encarnacion hit his second homer in two games in the fourth, and Bautista connected in the sixth to make it 5-2.

NOTES: The Blue Jays were without first baseman Adam Lind, who was placed on paternity leave. ... To make room for Stinson, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Alex Burnett to Triple-A Norfolk. Burnett was recalled Monday and did not appear in a game. ... The last Baltimore pitcher to yield four homers in a game was Jason Hammel against Toronto on May 30, 2012. ... Blue Jays pitchers have allowed only two home runs in nine road games. ... Baltimore heads to Oakland for a four-game series that begins Thursday night. Toronto continues its road trip Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.