Is it possible to not like Lyle Overbay? Well, yeah, I suppose it is. Throw his .246 average out the window for one day and love the guy though, because it was his walk-off homer in the 11th this afternoon that gave the Jays their fourth win in five games on the current homestand, 5-4 over the Orioles.
Overbay led off the inning with his 20th homer of the year off former NBA superstar Mark Hendrickson, putting the finishing touches on a comeback that was in the works since Baltimore scored the game’s first three runs in the second off Ricky Romero. The Jays got one back in the bottom of the inning on Aaron Hill’s solo shot off Jeremy Guthrie and another in the third on Travis Snider’s 11th of the year. Each team tacked on a run before defensive specialist Edwin Encarnacion’s solo homer in the seventh tied it at 4-4.
Romero scuffled through five innings, giving up the three second inning runs and walking five, including three straight in the inning to force home two runs. The damage on the scoreboard and to Romero’s pitch count, however, could’ve been limited if the infamous Encarnacion was capable of turning a routine double play and Jose Molina was able to squeeze a Nick Markakis foul tip. In the end, Romero needed 105 pitches to get 15 outs, which was six more than he needed to get over the 200 inning mark for the first time in his young career.
The Toronto bullpen was solid, limiting Baltimore to one run over six innings, which came on a Ty Wigginton solo homer off Casey Janssen to start the seventh and give the O’s a 4-3 lead. Brian Tallet, Josh Roenicke, Scott Downs and Jesse Carlson set up David Purcey’s shutout 11th, which earned him his first win of the year.
Jose Bautista was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts a day after hitting his 51st and 52nd homers, but did something I can’t imagine has ever been done at Rogers Centre: On a 3-2 fastball from Guthrie in the sixth, he got so far out in front that he ripped it right out of the ballpark — foul, though. I haven’t seen a guy get it close to halfway up in the 500 level behind the plate, and this one’s clearing the light structure down the third baseline. What’s next? Does he knock one of the letters off the Jackie Robinson sign or something?
The win — Toronto’s eighth in eight games this season and 22nd in 24 overall against Baltimore at home — bumps the Jays’ record to 79-75 and leaves them a mere 13.5 back of Tampa Bay in the division with eight games to play. They’ll look to make it even more interesting tomorrow afternoon, when Shaun Marcum (12-8, 3.77) takes the ball against Rich VandenHurk (0-0, 4.38).