Orioles 4 Blue Jays 3 (12 ings)
BALTIMORE — Melvin Mora’s rare stroll around the bases ended with a slide at the plate into the waiting arms of his elated teammates.
Mora ended a 50-game homerless drought with an opposite-field drive in the 12th inning Saturday night, giving the Baltimore Orioles a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“It’s a good feeling, especially when you win the game,” said Mora, whose previous longest stretch without a homer was 43 games.
Mora had gone 189 at-bats without connecting before getting hold of a pitch from Jesse Carlson (1-4) and sending it into the front row of the right-field bleachers. It was his third homer of the season, the first since May 7.
Orioles manager Dave Trembley, who watched from a stadium suite while closing out a two-game suspension stemming from his ejection earlier in the week, cheered as Mora rounded the bases.
“Melvin picked a good time to get one, didn’t he?” Trembley said. “Everybody dreams of that — a walk-off and win the game at home in extra innings. That’s a special moment.”
Mora thought he ended the dry spell with a fourth-inning swing, but his liner to centre died near the warning track.
“I think the one I hit before, that was gone. So I was like OK, I’m going to hit another one and see what happens,” he said.
“And that one, I don’t know, I thought it was going to hit the wall because I hit the other one better.”
Luke Scott also homered for Baltimore to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Mark Hendrickson (5-4), the sixth Orioles pitcher, worked the 12th.
Toronto got the potential go-ahead run to third base with one out in the 11th after Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters dropped the ball in a botched rundown.
But Brian Bass worked out of trouble by striking out pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay and retiring Rod Barajas on a sharp grounder to third that bounced off Mora’s chest.
Brian Butterfield, who ran the team while Cito Gaston attended the funeral of his sister, said “we had a lot of opportunities. They’ve battled the entire (2-7) road trip. We’re just not coming out on the right end of the stick.”
Aaron Hill had two hits and drove in a run for the Blue Jays, who have lost 11-of-14 despite opening the three-game series with a 2-0 victory.
Baltimore used successive doubles by Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff to go up 3-2 in the sixth, but Toronto tied it in the eighth. After Jim Johnson hit Marco Scutaro with a pitch, Adam Lind singled and Scott Rolen hit a sacrifice fly.
Bidding to become the first Blue Jays rookie to win eight games before the all-star break, Toronto starter Ricky Romero left with the score tied after giving up three runs and seven hits in eight innings.
Despite getting a no-decision, he reached the midpoint with a 7-3 record.
“I’m pretty happy about it,” Romero said.
“You can’t complain when things are going your way. The hard work has paid off. I still have a whole lot of second half to prepare for.”
Rich Hill allowed two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings for the Orioles after yielding a total of 21 runs and 23 hits in his previous three starts. Hill was given the starting assignment after a virus forced Jeremy Guthrie out of the rotation.
The Orioles got a second-inning run when Wieters received credit for an RBI double on a two-out popup that glanced off the glove of charging Toronto centre-fielder Vernon Wells.