Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jays snatch victory from claws of defeat

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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."

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 Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2013 D8

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