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Welington Castillo homers again as Orioles beat Blue Jays, 7-5

For the second straight night, Welington Castillo made winners out of the Orioles.

For the second straight night, Welington Castillo made winners out of the Orioles.

The irrepressible backstop homered yet again to give the hosts a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 45,416 at Camden Yards. They improved to 15-3 at home and at 25-16 overall, moved back into first place in the American League East.

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This time, Castillo hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning that erased the possibility of another bullpen-generated loss.

Castillo's home run was his fourth of the season, and his third in the past two games. On Friday night, he hit one in the sixth inning to tie the game at three and another in the 10th inning to end it.

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"I just love the situation," Castillo said. "I don't care if I fail. I want to be in that situation again. That's the type of player I am — I want to be the guy."

This one scored first baseman Chris Davis, who singled against the shift to snap an 0-for-10 skid, and designated hitter Mark Trumbo, who turned an 0-2 count into a full one before stinging a single up the middle.

Castillo himself was down 0-2 when he hit his home run.

"That's one of the things he brought with him was his offensive capabilities," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Pretty calm hitter right now. He's not letting guys take him out of the zone much."

His effort erased a 5-4 deficit that came about after starter Kevin Gausman left with a 4-2 lead at the end of six innings. Left-hander Richard Bleier had a runner reach on an error by shortstop J.J. Hardy and another on a walk, and right-hander Mychal Givens, who relieved him, allowed a three-run home run to Toronto slugger José Bautista.

Darren O'Day worked a clean eighth inning for the Orioles, and deputy closer Brad Brach earned his ninth save out of a dozen chances.

Gausman good enough: Badly needing a good outing to turn his season around, Gausman got just that to stem some of the concern about his early-season struggles.

He allowed 10 hits, but only the last two — a sixth-inning home run by first baseman Justin Smoak and a double to the following batter, second baseman Devon Travis — went for extra bases. Combine that with just the one walk issued, and Gausman gave up two runs with five strikeouts, lowering his ERA from 7.19 to 6.65.

"Obviously, I gave up a lot of hits, but that's one of those things," Gausman said. "I always kind of base my outing on how hard the balls are that got hit off me. I felt like they didn't hit the ball too hard, especially early in the game. But my defense came up huge. Got some big double plays when we needed them. I think the biggest thing was being able to throw strikes and throw strikes consistently and kind of put the pressure on them."

Trumbo's old tricks: When the calendar turned to May, Trumbo turned back the clock to his early-season success from a season ago. He has been spraying hits all over the ballpark all month, including a two-out, run-scoring single in the first inning that tied the game at 1, and a two-run home run that put them ahead 4-1 in the fifth inning.

The reigning home run king now has four home runs and 11 RBIs this month, and is batting .342 in May. On the season, he has raised his average from .202 on May 1 to .265 at game's end.

"Mark, he's a professional," Showalter said. "He grinds every at-bat. I've seen him have three hits and a couple home runs, and not have a good at-bat and it's like he hasn't gotten a hit in his whole life. He takes a lot of pride in delivering what people expect of him, and that's why he's so easy to trust with the type of commitment we made to him."

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Machado show: When Manny Machado has a day like he did Saturday and impacts the game as often and as spectacularly as he does, it's worth the price of admission on its own.

After a first-inning single through the left side provided an appetizer of what was ahead, Machado unloaded on a middle-middle cutter from Blue Jays starter Mike Bolsinger for his 10th home run of the year, a long drive to left field. In the following half-inning, with a man on first and one out, he skidded on his knees to snare a hard grounder down the third base line, then spun to start a double play at second base.

"You kind of get used to it, honestly," Gausman said. "It seems like he makes those plays every night, so when he doesn't you're kind of confused. He's obviously one of the best third basemen in baseball, if not the best, especially right now. He's exciting to watch every night and you never know what you are going to see from him and that's very exciting."

Triple-double: In his first four innings, Gausman benefited from three double plays by the Orioles infield, with Machado's the most spectacular but not the most significant. The first one, after Toronto's top three batters reached in the first inning, allowed a run to score but meant Gausman's strikeout of Smoak one batter later ended the inning. In the second, a double play ended the inning.

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