09/25/10 6:59 PM ET
O's can't overcome Jays' four homers
Overbay reaches Hendrickson with deciding shot in 11th
By James Hall / MLB.com
In what was a gusty Saturday afternoon with the roof open, the Jays' offense put four baseballs into the stratosphere, including an 11th-inning walk-off shot from Lyle Overbay, to beat the Orioles, 5-4.
With the loss, Baltimore fell to 3-14 in its season series against Toronto, and 0-8 at the Blue Jays' home park.
Opening the 11th frame, Orioles reliever Mark Hendrickson dialed in to face Overbay. After a big swing and a miss from the left-handed batter on a pitch well above the letters, Hendrickson went back at him with another cutter.
But this one ended up in Overbay's wheelhouse. The ball, jumping off the bat sky-high, kept carrying until it ended up in the Orioles' bullpen for the game's decisive run and the Blue Jays' second walk-off home run of the year.
"From what I saw, the ball that was hit maybe not quite as hard as the other ones was Overbay's ball," said Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie, who allowed three solo blasts. "[He had a] nice swing on it, puts it up in the air, and it goes. Maybe it goes another day, but certainly on a day like this, it was tough conditions for a pitcher. You really had to be down in the zone."
Guthrie said the conditions were almost unbearable at times.
"It was crazy," He said. "I was not comfortable on the mound with how hard it was blowing in my face. It was blowing hard enough to the point where I felt like it would even take some of my pitches -- push against them. In certain cases it was actually good, it created a little more movement or slowed a few of them down, like a breaking ball or a changeup. Certainly if they got a ball up in the air with the amount of power they had, it had a chance to leave the park today."
Despite the Jays going yard four times, it was the Orioles who carried the early momentum. Baltimore got to Jays left-hander Ricky Romero in the second, starting with a pair of leadoff singles. Brandon Snyder -- coming off a two-hit performance on Friday -- bashed a ground-rule double to plate Baltimore's first run.
Still in the second, with two outs, the Orioles -- last in the American League with only 404 walks -- demonstrated some rare patience. Continuously working into deep pitch counts -- throwing 42 pitches in the inning -- Romero walked three straight batters to push two more runs across. With the bases loaded and a 3-2 count, Romero caught Wigginton looking to halt the rally.
Romero eventually settled down following the disastrous inning with three scoreless frames. Snyder was disappointed the Orioles couldn't knock Romero out of the game a little sooner.
"I kind of felt like we had him on the ropes," said Snyder. "But you have to give the guy credit, he bounced back and really changed the tone of the game, started sitting us down pretty quick."
Picking up their pitcher, the Jays' offense, leading the Majors in home runs, bounced back with solo blasts from Aaron Hill in the second and Travis Snider in the third. They added a sacrifice fly from Overbay in the sixth to tie the game at 3.
The two teams set the stage for the exciting extra-innings finish, swapping solo home runs in the seventh. O's third baseman Ty Wigginton tagged his 22nd of the year before Edwin Encarnacion went deep off Guthrie in the bottom half of the frame.
"It's always a tough combination when you got a home run pitcher with a home run hitting team, right?" Guthrie said. "Every one of their guys is a threat. If you leave a pitch up, they have a chance to go deep, and I don't know what they're approach is over there but it certainly seems that's what it is -- take your hacks, get a nice aggressive swing and eventually a pitcher is going to throw a pitch in a spot where you can hit it."
According to Overbay, that was exactly his mentality stepping into the batter's box in the 11th.
"I swung at the one up in the zone -- the first pitch -- and was kind of disappointed, because it didn't even start to be a strike," Overbay said of his bout with Hendrickson. "If he was going to make a mistake, I wanted to make sure that I was still able to be aggressive enough to do that. He missed his spot and left it over the middle of the plate."
In spite of receiving a no-decision in the loss, Guthrie recorded a mini milestone. The right-hander -- who allowed four runs over 6 1/3 innings -- became the first O's pitcher to throw back-to-back seasons of 200-plus innings since Mike Mussina and Sidney Ponson did so in 1999-2000.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter was pleased with Guthrie and his team's overall performance.
"[Guthrie] gave us a good chance to win," Showalter said. "That's a hard lineup to go through, and I thought he pitched very effectively for the most part, just mistakes get magnified, especially in this ballpark.
"I went out to the mound and the wind would just about pick you up and take you out. The ball is flying out of here whether it is open, closed, or sideways. They don't need any help, they certainly have enough power as it is."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.