BALTIMORE -- It wasn't pretty by any means. But one swing from Orioles rookie Ryan Adams with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning washed away the remnants of Tuesday's sloppily-played defensive game and another blown save from closer Kevin Gregg. Instead, Adams' game-winning RBI single granted Baltimore a 6-5 series-opening walk off win, leaving the 24-year-old second baseman with another -- far more welcome -- kind of mess.
"Watching [it on] T.V. you know, I've kind of always wanted a pie in the face," said Adams who was mobbed by teammates at home plate and got his wish with a huge helping of celebratory shaving cream. "So it was nice."
So was the reasoning behind it. Tuesday's extra-innings victory, in front of 10,756 at Camden Yards, is the Orioles' seventh win in nine games as the team continues to flourish while their starting rotation begins to stabilize. Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, the ace of the staff, wasn't particularly crisp -- slogging through the first four innings on 87 pitches -- but was able to battle and turn in a quality six-inning start that would be key in a closely-contested game.
"Jeremy does what he's capable of doing and he understands there are some things out of his control," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Guthrie, who was denied what would have been his first pair of consecutive wins this season with the bullpen's late-game meltdown.
After Oriole reliever Willie Eyre surrendered a run in the top of the 10th, pinch-hitter Jake Fox tied things up with a one-out right-field single to score Matt Wieters, who worked one of two walks off reliever Brian Tallet to start the frame. Reynolds, who scored the winning run on Adams' hit, also walked to help setup a key situation, one of many the Orioles had Tuesday night, that finally came to fruition.
"We could have made that a lot easier, with some of the people we had out there in [those] situations," Showalter said of an offense that went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine men on base in the first nine innings to ensure Toronto stayed within striking distance.
"It wasn't looking good there for a minute," admitted Adams, as both Gregg and Eyre allowed the Blue Jays to tie and take back the lead. "But we battled back and it feels good to get the victory in the first game of the series."
After Jim Johnson tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Guthrie, Gregg and the Orioles' defense combined for an ugly ninth that drew loud boos from the home crowd. Gregg gave up a leadoff single to J.P. Arencibia before walking No. 9 batter Mike McCoy on four pitches and the pair advanced when the entire infield was caught sleeping.
The O's fielders all ran in when Yunel Escobar squared to bunt, leaving both second and third base unprotected to allow for an easy double-steal. The play would prove haunting when Arencibia scored on Escobar's controversial sacrifice fly to tie the game, taking off what looked to be well ahead of Nick Markakis' diving catch. But the run stood up even after Gregg threw to second and third base to try to reverse the ruling.
One out later, Gregg intentionally walked Jose Bautista and issued Adam Lind the third free pass of the inning to load the bases, but was able to halt the Jays' scoring on an inning-ending groundout from Encarnacion.
"I try to dwell on some of the positives," Showalter said, when asked about Gregg's sixth blown save in 25 opportunities. "A lot of guys would have let that inning get real big and away from him, and he held them to one run. He's had some real good outings for us against tough competition. Tonight was one where command wasn't as good, but he came back and got some big outs."
Tallet also had control issues, but couldn't work his way out. Tasked with protecting a one-run lead after Casey Janssen was pulled with tightness in his latissimus (back) muscle, both of Tallet's walks scored to hand the reliever his first blown save and loss this season.
"Been playing this game for how long? I know I can throw strikes," Tallet said. "It's inexcusable... I just didn't get it done. There's really nothing else to it."
The Orioles got on the board courtesy of Wieters' two-run homer in the second inning. The O's catcher notched his 15th long ball of the year off starter Brett Cecil, scoring Vladimir Guerrero, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI double in the fifth. The Orioles capitalized on Cecil's throwing error to tie the game in the fourth, with Robert Andino -- who made several outstanding plays at third base -- scoring on Nolan Reimold's infield single, an easy feat when Cecil's throw sailed wide of first baseman Adam Lind.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.