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Kiner-Falefa drives in winning run to give Blue Jays walkoff win over Orioles

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TORONTO — After being on the wrong end of back-to-back routs, the Toronto Blue Jays came through with some quality at-bats in the ninth inning Wednesday for a much-needed 3-2 walkoff win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa drove a pitch from Craig Kimbrel (4-2) to the wall to allow Cavan Biggio to trot home from third base with the winning run.

"Those (situations) are like what you dream of as a contact hitter," Kiner-Falefa said. "Just coming up, seeing the infield in, trying to put something in play."

Biggio served as a pinch-runner after Justin Turner led off with a single. Kimbrel threw wide on a pickoff attempt to allow Biggio to move into scoring position and Alejandro Kirk moved him another 90 feet on a sacrifice fly.

That set the stage for Kiner-Falefa, who also drove in a run in the second inning.

"If felt good, especially my first year on the team," he said of the walkoff celebration. "To get that moment as a Blue Jay meant a lot to me. It was very cool."

Turner had three hits for the Blue Jays. Toronto starter Jose Berrios threw six solid innings and Yimi Garcia (2-0) worked a clean ninth inning for the victory.

"That's a good win," said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. "Jose was great. Just a total team effort really there between him, the bullpen and some timely hitting."

Anthony Santander homered for the Orioles (39-21), who lost for just the third time in 13 games.

Toronto (29-32) has won six of its last nine games. The Blue Jays outhit Baltimore 9-6.

Both starting pitchers settled in after blips in the second inning.

Santander belted an off-speed slurve from Berrios an estimated 436 feet to open the scoring. It was his 12th home run of the season.

Cedric Mullins added another run when he walked, stole second and scored on a double by Ramon Urias.

After being outscored 17-3 over the first two games of the series, Toronto's bats finally showed some life in the bottom half of the frame.

Albert Suarez walked George Springer and he advanced to third base on a Turner double. Kirk hit a sacrifice fly to bring Springer home and Turner scored on a single up the middle by Kiner-Falefa.

"I think the two runs right there were huge," Kiner-Falefa said. "Getting those two runs back I think gave us a little bit of life and just kept us in the fight."

Suarez allowed two earned runs, five hits and a walk over his five-inning appearance. He had four strikeouts.

Berrios gave up two earned runs, six hits and three walks. He struck out a pair.

"He made big pitches when he had to," Schneider said. "That's been his thing all year. A lot of quality starts."

Left-hander Tim Mayza got two outs in the seventh before Chad Green came on to finish the inning and handle the eighth. Garcia struck out two of the three batters he faced.

"Yimi García might be the best reliever in the game right now, the way he’s throwing the baseball," said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde.

Announced attendance was 27,929 and the game took two hours 32 minutes to play.

HARTLEY HERE

American actor Justin Hartley was on hand for the game. He starred in the NBC drama "This is Us," and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for his work on the CBS soap opera "The Young and the Restless."

COMING UP

Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-5, 3.66 earned-run average) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays on Thursday. The Orioles have yet to name their starter for the matinee.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2024.

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