It had been almost a year to the day since the Orioles swept a three-game series at Oriole Park, and there’s no sense dwelling on what happened in between.
The Toronto Blue Jays showed up in Baltimore to face a team that had lost eight straight games and headed out of town Wednesday night on the wrong end of three straight galling defeats.
The Orioles came back from an early four-run deficit to score a 10-5 victory before an announced 11,834 and complete their first sweep since they took three games from the Seattle Mariners last Aug. 28-30.
The Blue Jays seemed to wilt on another hot August night after losing by seven runs in each of the first two games.
This one featured a little more drama on a night in which starter Alex Cobb struggled for the first time since early July and Adam Jones matched his career high with five RBIs.
The Orioles had no luck for the first three innings against Blue Jays rookie left-hander Ryan Borucki, who was making his 12th big league start. He had allowed just one hit before Trey Mancini led off the fourth inning with his 20th home run of the season.
That took a small chunk out of the Blue Jays’ early four-run lead. Jones would wipe it away completely an inning later with his first grand slam in more than a decade.
“That was huge,’’ Cobb said. “Complete momentum swing. He gets out of that jam, it’s hard to get opportunity back where you have the bases loaded and a chance to at least score a couple. Obviously, the grand slam putting us on top completely switched the momentum of the game.”
Jones came up after the Orioles loaded the bases on a one-out single by rookie catcher Austin Wynns and back-to-back two-out singles by Craig Gentry and Mancini. He jumped ahead 3-1 on the count and turned on an 82-mph changeup from Borucki that landed deep in the left-field bleachers.
“We got the ‘W’ and I was able to help the team win,’’ Jones said. “A lot of guys at the bottom of the lineup really helped turn over the lineup. Guys put me in a good situation...It was a really good team effort.”
The fact that Jones had hit only one other grand slam in his big league career — on July 28, 2008, at Yankee Stadium — is almost impossible to explain. He came into Wednesday’s game with 125 career at-bats with the bases full and a solid .272 average in those situations that produced 83 RBIs.
The slam highlighted a huge series for Jones, who had seven hits in 12 at-bats, scored four runs and drove in six.
Mancini also lit up the ballpark for three straight nights, with six hits in 13 at-bats, six runs and seven RBIs.
Utility outfielder Craig Gentry had a big series, even though he appeared in just the final two games. He had five hits in nine at-bats, scored three times and drove in three runs.
Clearly, the baseball was carrying well on a night when the temperature was 93 degrees at first pitch. Devon Travis came up minutes after Jones’ slam and hit a solo homer to left that tied the score at 5 and allowed Cobb to take the rest of the night off.
Cobb pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits. It was the first time he had worked less than six innings since July 21 and the first time he allowed more than three earned runs since the Minnesota Twins scored five July 8 at Target Field.
Between that loss to the Twins and Wednesday night’s no-decision, Cobb had pitched to a 2.24 ERA over a span of nine starts.
He ended up with another no-decision, but said he very much enjoyed the offensive show, which featured contributions from several of the newer players on the rebuilding roster.
“We’re playing great,’’ Cobb said. “We’re putting up a ton of runs each game. We’re playing great defense. There’s just an energy. There’s a confidence about the guys. When you get an opportunity to play, you have to take advantage of it when you’re a younger guy. Know that you’re on audition and there is always somebody else out there that wants your job.”