Fortunately for Brad Bergesen, the Orioles continued to experience the kind of moments that have become the norm under new manager Buck Showalter, making the kind of plays that point to a much brighter baseball future in Baltimore.
Sparked by some dazzling defensive plays, including a pair by shortstop Cesar Izturis and another by rightfielder Nick Markakis, Bergesen pitched a complete game and the Orioles, after not beating the Blue Jays in their first 12 meetings this season, completed a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory at Camden Yards.
In a game that took one hour and 55 minutes from the time the game started — the quickest Orioles game this season by 10 minutes —- Bergesen (7-10) pitched his second complete game of the year and improved to 4-1 in eight starts under Showalter.
In winning for the ninth time in the past 11 games and 13th in the past 17, the Orioles (58-88) improved their record to 26-15 under Showalter. The Orioles starters are 19-11 with a 2.93 ERA since Showalter took over. Bergesen easily outpitched Kyle Drabek, the son of former major league pitcher Doug Drabek, who finished his 13-year career with the Orioles in 1998.
The the 22-year-old Toronto right-hander gave up nine hits and three runs in six innings. The younger Drabek, who came to Toronto in the deal for Roy Halladay, might have given up more runs if not for some questionable base-running by the Orioles.
After staking the Blue Jays to a 1-0 lead on Jose Bautista's major-league leading 47th home run — tying the current Toronto slugger with George Bell for the franchise record — the Orioles avoided a bigger deficit when Ty Wigginton followed a bobbled grounder with a strong relay throw.
The Orioles tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the first when Brian Roberts and Markakis reached with opposite field singles off Drabek nd pulled off a double steal on the rookie, with Roberts scoring on a ground out to second by Luke Scott.
Bergesen quickly settled down after that, retiring the next seven Blue Jays he faced and 11 of the next 12.
He also retired 11 of the last 13 batters he faced.
Drabek retired the side in order in the second, striking out both Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, but got knocked around in the third and fourth. Drabek was able to survive the third because of overly aggressive baserunning, but was touched for two runs in the fourth.
Izturis led off the third with a four-pitch walk. When Roberts doubled off the right field wall, third-base coach Gary Allenson sent Izturis. But Aaron Hill's relay throw got home long before Izturis, who was out by several feet.
Neither Drabek nor the Blue Jays were as fortunate in the fourth.
Felix Pie led off with a single to center, got a good jump and made it to second on a ground out to short, to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Corey Patterson after Wieters walked. Wieters later scored on what turned out to be an inning-ending double play by Roberts.
Bergesen appeared to get into trouble in the sixth when Travis Snider, Toronto's No. 9 hitter, singled leading off. Leadoff hitter DeWayne Wise singled to right and Markakis nearly threw out Snider after he made too wide a turn. But Snider snuck back to second under Roberts' tag. Bergesen made two pitches — and one play — to get out of the inning.
Yunel Escobar hit a ground ball back to Bergesen, who started a double play that left Snider at third. He was stranded there when Bergesen got Bautista to fly out to center.
Leading 3-1 in the sixth, a potential home run by Jones was pulled back for an out by Wells in center.