Tejada's return to Baltimore a home run
New third baseman has big game despite Orioles' defeat
BALTIMORE -- Miguel Tejada returned to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday afternoon. He ran down the long, orange carpet that stretched from deep center field to near second base to a loud ovation in the team's pregame ceremony for its home opener.
Tejada smiled when asked if he heard the loud ovation. But he also admitted hearing some scattered boos.
All of that changed very quickly, as he hit a two-run single in the first, a two-run homer in the fifth and finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Still, that wasn't enough to prevent Toronto from pulling out a 7-6 victory over the Orioles before a crowd of 48,891.
Tejada moved to third base this year and is a little older than when he came to town the first time in 2004, but he remains the same emotional player that loves to come through in the clutch. He's already 4-for-10, with one homer and five RBIs, with runners on base -- and hitless in six tries with the bases cleared.
Tejada said he's been looking forward to the Orioles' home opener, even though it came after a very short night. The Orioles' plane landed from Tampa Bay at about 2:15 a.m. ET, and the players needed to be at the ballpark by around 10.
But Tejada was ready.
"I was fired up as soon as the plane [touched] down last night," Tejada said. "I'm really happy to come back here. I think [for] me to come back this year is going to be really special, because I'm going to try to have the best season that I [ever had]."
Tejada has been the team's cleanup hitter so far and hit the ball hard several times throughout the three-game series in Tampa Bay, but got just one hit in 12 at-bats. In addition, Tejada looked like he's been having no trouble adjusting to his new life at third base.
Tejada said he understood that some fans might not be happy and thus wasn't worried about the possibility of getting booed. But he said it was very nice to hear the cheering when the good things happened.
"The first time that I came here they cheered for me," Tejada said. "Today ... it's the same feeling. The love is still up there. It's not only today; for me, it's going to be every day. I'm going to be playing hard."
Tejada almost singlehandedly brought the Orioles back from a 3-0 first-inning hole. He lined a two-run single off Toronto starter Brandon Morrow to make it 3-2, and the Orioles tied it in that half of the inning.
The Blue Jays later had a 5-3 lead in the fifth until Tejada lined a homer run to left after a Nick Markakis double. Tejada got a loud roar after the two-run single, and an even bigger ovation after the game-tying homer.
"Tejada had a very big day," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "But the game is ruined because we don't close it out."
Closer Mike Gonzalez blew his second save in three appearances, giving up two runs in the ninth. Tejada said he went to Gonzalez to try to give him some advice, since the left-hander is suffering through a very tough first week with Baltimore.
"It's a long season," Tejada said. "You've got to be strong. Whatever happens today, just put it behind and come back and do the job tomorrow."
Tejada certainly did the job today.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.