Kim’s 9th inning homer pushes Orioles past Jays
TORONTO -- Baltimore Orioles pinch hitter Hyun Soo Kim kept fouling off pitches until he round one he liked on Wednesday night.
When he did, he took the 3-2 pitch from Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna to right field for a two-run home run that gave the Orioles a 3-2 victory to bring them to within one game of the first American League wild-card spot.
You knew they were going to come at him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’re lucky to have a guy hitting .300 come off the bench. We felt like he’d give us a good at bat.”
It was the sixth homer of the season for Kim and increased his batting average to .305.
“When I was up at bat, I expected Michael Bourn to steal to second,” Kim said through a translator. “I tried to hit the ball after that. After he stole the base, I tried to hit as accurately as possible so I could bring in Michael Bourn. It just happened to be a homer.”
Jonathan Schoop singled with one out in the ninth against Osuna. Pinch runner Michael Bourn stole second.
“I was trying to throw the ball a little bit to his hands, up and in,” Osuna said. “And the ball caught a little bit (of the plate) and I just didn’t execute the pitch.”
“(Kim) has a great ability to foul off tough pitches and stay alive and hits to all fields,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It was two good teams battling and it came down to the end and they got the big home run there. Two teams with a lot at stake.”
The Blue Jays still occupy the first wild-card spot but saw a chance to increase their lead over the Orioles to three games . Each team has four games to play until the end of the regular season.
Mark Trumbo homered for the Orioles in the eighth inning against Jason Grilli to cut Toronto’s lead to one run.
Orioles left-hander Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 47th save of the season.
Edwin Encarnacion and Kevin Pillar each hit a sacrifice fly for the Blue Jays.
Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman allowed six hits, three walks and two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
“My fastball command wasn’t there again tonight but we were able to make some big pitches with the offspeed stuff and limit the damage,” Tillman said. “(The home run) couldn’t happen to someone better. It was priceless, him coming in the dugout with a big smile on his face. Not a better guy for that to happen to. It was big. I think that could push a team a long way, those kind of wins. It was a big team win and everybody played a part in it.”
Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano allowed six hits and one walk while striking out 10 in 6 1-3 innings and stood to win his second straight start until Kim homerered.
“I was ahead in the count, was throwing strikes,” Liriano said. “I feel bad for the team, I feel bad for Osuna, too. We have to try to come back tomorrow and win the game. I’ve been working on my mechanics since I’ve been here and it’s been working for me, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Tillman left with two out in the sixth after left fielder Nolan Reimold’s diving catch on a bloop by Troy Tulowitzki resulted in a double play with Jose Bautista being caught off second, Bautista and Russell Martin started the inning with walks.
Left-hander Donnie Hart finished the inning on a popout to third by Michael Saunders.
Liriano left with one out in the seventh after singles by Matt Wieters and Schoop. Left-hander Brett Cecil struck out Reimold and the inning ended when Tulowitzki made a diving stop on a grounder to shortstop and threw out Adam Jones at first.
After Cecil struck out Chris Davis to start the eighth, Jason Grilli took over and retired Manny Machado on a ground ball to short.
Trumbo followed with his 46th homer of the season.
Mychal Givens took over in the bottom of the eighth for Baltimore and hit Josh Donaldson with a pitch. After retiring the next two batters, Givens hit Martin with a pitch and walked Tulowitzki to load the bases.
Left-hander Brian Duensing (1-0) replaced Givens and caught pinch hitter Melvin Upton Jr. looking at a third strike.
The Blue Jays scored a run without a hit in the first inning. Ezequiel Carrera reached first base on a grounder to the pitcher when the first baseman, Davis, dropped Tillman’s throw.
Carrera took third on Tillman’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Encarnacion.
Toronto added a run in the second. Tulowitzki doubled, took third on a single by Saunders and slid home on a sacrifice fly by Pillar.
NOTES: Toronto 2B Devon Travis (sore left shoulder) was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game after being injured during second-inning, bench-clearing incident with the New York Yankees on Monday. He left the game in the sixth inning after the injury hampered his swing. He is listed as day to day. INF Ryan Goins started at second base on Wednesday. ... Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop started his 158th consecutive game Wednesday, the second-longest active starting streak in the majors. Only Kansas City Royals SS Alcides Escobar, who entered Wednesday with 166 straight starts, is ahead of Schoop. ...Toronto RHP Marcus Stroman (9-9, 4.34 ERA) will face Baltimore RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-12, 5.71 ERA) Thursday in the finale of the three-game series.