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Unlikely hero lifts Orioles over Blue Jays in extras

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BALTIMORE (AP)

Melvin Mora's rare stroll around the bases ended with a slide at the plate into the waiting arms of his elated teammates. Mora ended a 50-game homerless drought with an opposite-field drive in the 12th inning Saturday night, giving the Baltimore Orioles a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. "It's a good feeling, especially when you win the game," said Mora, whose previous longest stretch without a homer was 43 games. Mora had gone 189 at-bats without connecting before getting hold of a pitch from Jesse Carlson (1-4) and sending it into the front row of the right-field bleachers. It was his third homer of the season, the first since May 7. Orioles manager Dave Trembley, who watched from a stadium suite while closing out a two-game suspension stemming from his ejection earlier in the week, cheered as Mora rounded the bases. "Melvin picked a good time to get one, didn't he?" Trembley said. "Everybody dreams of that - a walk-off and win the game at home in extra innings. That's a special moment." Mora thought he ended the dry spell with a fourth-inning swing, but his liner to center died near the warning track. "I think the one I hit before, that was gone. So I was like OK, I'm going to hit another one and see what happens," he said. "And that one, I don't know, I thought it was going to hit the wall because I hit the other one better." Luke Scott also homered for Baltimore to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Mark Hendrickson (5-4), the sixth Orioles pitcher, worked the 12th. Toronto got the potential go-ahead run to third base with one out in the 11th after Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters dropped the ball in a botched rundown. But Brian Bass worked out of trouble by striking out pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay and retiring Rod Barajas on a sharp grounder to third that bounced off Mora's chest. Brian Butterfield, who ran the team while Cito Gaston attended the funeral of his sister, said, "We had a lot of opportunities. They've battled the entire (2-7) road trip. We're just not coming out on the right end of the stick." Aaron Hill had two hits and drove in a run for the Blue Jays, who have lost 11 of 14 despite opening the three-game series with a 2-0 victory. Baltimore used successive doubles by Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff to go up 3-2 in the sixth, but Toronto tied it in the eighth. After Jim Johnson hit Marco Scutaro with a pitch, Adam Lind singled and Scott Rolen hit a sacrifice fly. Bidding to become the first Blue Jays rookie to win eight games before the All-Star break, Toronto starter Ricky Romero left with the score tied after giving up three runs and seven hits in eight innings. Despite getting a no-decision, he reached the midpoint with a 7-3 record. "I'm pretty happy about it," Romero said. "You can't complain when things are going your way. The hard work has paid off. I still have a whole lot of second half to prepare for." Rich Hill allowed two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings for the Orioles after yielding a total of 21 runs and 23 hits in his previous three starts. Hill was given the starting assignment after a virus forced Jeremy Guthrie out of the rotation. The Orioles got a second-inning run when Wieters received credit for an RBI double on a two-out popup that glanced off the glove of charging Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells. Scott made it 2-0 in the fourth with his team-high 18th homer, a drive to right that landed on Eutaw Street in front of the B&O Warehouse. Only 51 balls have landed on Eutaw Street in the 18-year history of Camden Yards, and Scott has hit three of them. Toronto was 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position until Scutaro doubled in a run with two outs in the fifth and scored the tying run on a single by Aaron Hill. The uprising started when former Oriole Kevin Millar snapped a 14 for 80 skid with a leadoff double. NOTES: Mired in a 3 for 32 slump, Baltimore rookie Nolan Reimold was given the day off. ... Aaron Hill has 36 multihit games, second in the AL behind Ichiro Suzuki. ... Toronto has doubled in 19 consecutive games.
Tagged: Orioles, Blue Jays

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