Orioles 7 Blue Jays 5
TORONTO — For the Toronto Blue Jays, Friday represented a night for celebration of past success — and a stark reminder of the present.
On a reunion night for Toronto’s back-to-back World Series championship teams in 1992 and 1993, the current Blue Jays continued their swoon with a 7-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Toronto has dropped three straight, the latest coming in front of a Rogers Centre crowd of 30,785 that celebrated the return of 35 members of the Jays’ two World Series-champion teams. The 51-57 Blue Jays have lost all three games on their homestand.
Rookie left-hander Ricky Romero (10-5) could not hold a 3-0 lead and gave up four runs in the sixth inning to take the loss.
“It seems liked the momentum was on our side for the whole game from the first pitch until that inning,” Romero said. “It kind of started with me and that leadoff walk, a couple of bad breaks and we’re down 4-3.”
Brandon League allowed three runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Jason Berken (2-9) allowed three runs, five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings and Matt Albers took over in the seventh to earn the victory for the 46-63 Orioles. Berken’s only other win this season was against Toronto on May 26 in his major-league debut.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his third save.
After Cito Gaston, the current Jays manager who led Toronto’s two World Series teams, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to catcher Pat Borders, players from the 1992 and 1993 champions huddled around him.
“When all the guys gathered around me that was quite emotional,” Gaston said. “All those guys, I love them all.”
Asked what he told the former players in the huddle, Gaston said. “Just thank you, thank you very much.”
Building on Friday’s back-to-back theme, season-long underachievers Vernon Wells and Alex Rios hit consecutive one-out home runs in the second to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.
It was the 11th home run of the season for Wells and the 13th for Rios, who was reportedly claimed on waivers earlier Friday by an unidentified team.
Romero saved a hit — and himself — when he caught Nolan Reimold’s line drive that was hit back to the mound for the second out of the fifth inning. After catching the ball, Romero fell to the ground.
The Blue Jays increased their lead to 3-0 in the fifth, started by Joe Inglett’s one-out double. Marco Scutaro followed with a walk and Aaron Hill’s double to left just beyond the reach of Reimold scored Inglett.
Matt Wieters led off the Orioles’ sixth with a walk and Cesar Izturis and Adam Jones followed with singles to load the bases.
Nick Markakis then scorched a bad-hop double to first that scored two runs. Aubrey Huff singled in the tying run. The fourth run scored when the Blue Jays could not turn the double play on Reimold’s grounder to third, settling for the force at second.
Romero said he was aware of the occasion.
“It was a special day, you just want to go out and play hard for the team and to watch we had here it‘s really disappointing to come out with the loss,” he said.
“I was warming up out in left field (before the game) and could feel the energy, I just wanted to come out there and pitch a good game.”