On a day that seemed bound to end in frustration, designated hitter Mark Trumbo came up with another game-winning hit in the 12th inning to propel the Orioles to a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday at Camden Yards, salvaging a series split in the process.
Trumbo's long single down the left-field line was the Orioles' first hit in 17 chances with a runner in scoring position on the day, and was made possible by catcher Welington Castillo's second home run of the day, which tied the game in the ninth inning.
"That was a really tough series," Trumbo said. "Obviously, this is crunch time, so we would have been real disappointed if we didn't get the job done."
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop led off the 12th with a double, and for the second time in five innings, the Blue Jays walked first baseman Chris Davis to get to Trumbo. In the eighth inning, Trumbo struck out to end the inning. He made them pay for their second challenge.
Trumbo added a solo home run in the fourth, and the Orioles (70-67) also got a run on a sacrifice fly by rookie Trey Mancini in the sixth inning. Otherwise, they didn't do much to finish their chances. Three innings ended with the lead runner on third base, and three more ended with the lead runner on second.
There was no doubt a breakthrough was coming, though.
"I think we're always due," manager Buck Showalter said. "That's one of the things about having continuity with players and people. The clubhouse, and the dugout and the people don't live in a 'What have you done for me lately' world. That creates a real bad mentality."
Said Trumbo: "I don't think anyone really noticed. It didn't feel like we were coming through all often, but we don't dissect it like that. You just do what you can. When you get the opportunity, then you want to come through."
However, the bullpen held with eight innings of three-hit, one-run relief to push the game into extra innings. Rookie Jimmy Yacabonis earned his second win in three days with two innings of shutout relief.
"They've done an exceptional job," Trumbo said. "That's a good-hitting team, and that's a team that's scored a pretty good amount of runs in the recent games. They've come in. They've gotten ahead. They've put guys away, let the defense work when they needed to."
Tillman's time comes early
One big swing and a pair of fifth-inning base runners made for a quick hook of right-hander Chris Tillman, who was pulled quickly in favor of reliever Mychal Givens after recording just 12 outs.
Tillman was sharp early, working around a two-out walk in the first inning and retiring the side in order in the second. But in the third, a one-out walk of No. 9 hitter Richard Ureña and a one-out single by right fielder Teoscar Hernandez put two runners on for Josh Donaldson to drive in with his second home run in as many days.
After Tillman enjoyed another quick inning in the fourth, he allowed a leadoff double to shortstop Ryan Goins and walked Ureña again before Showalter yanked him for Givens, who ultimately loaded the bases before completing a scoreless inning.
Showalter said with Donaldson looming again, and the overstocked September bullpen, he could get Tillman in an otherwise unlikely situation.
"I thought he was good early, then kind of fell back a little bit," Showalter said. "I think the other team [told me], and you try to pick a spot where you think it could get away from you, but sometimes you don't have the chance to do that. That's why September baseball has a lot of [farce] in it.
Tillman ceded three runs in four-plus innings, walking three and allowing three hits with two strikeouts. His ERA is 7.85.
Big day for the bullpen
Toronto's only run against the otherwise-lockdown Orioles bullpen came in an unusual seventh inning, when a high chopper between second and third base hit off third baseman Manny Machado's glove and wrong-footed shortstop Tim Beckham behind him, allowing Goins to collect a 103-foot double.
Goins went to third on a groundout and scored when a difficult hop at bounced out of Davis' mitt.
Givens, Richard Bleier, Darren O'Day, Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Yacabonis combined to allow a run on three hits in eight innings of relief.
Big moments for the bottom
The Orioles' early offense came from the bottom of the batting order, with Castillo opening the team's scoring with his 17th home run of the season with no outs in the third, and Trumbo hitting his 21st of the season with two outs in the fourth.
They singled consecutively to open the seventh inning and give the Orioles a chance to erase their fresh, 4-3 deficit, but right fielder Joey Rickard popped out on a bunt attempt, and reliever Tom Koehler got a pair of groundouts to end the inning.
Trumbo was up with two outs after a double by Mancini and intentional walk of Davis, but struck out to end the Orioles' eighth. Trumbo and Castillo also had an opportunity in the 10th inning after Davis' one-out double, but nobody pushed him across. With an additional opportunity in the 12th, Trumbo was able to send the Orioles home happy.