BALTIMORE (AP) — One night earlier, Jim Johnson finished the Orioles’ 100th consecutive victory when leading after seven innings.
On Wednesday, Baltimore’s closer was again in the spotlight — this time after playing a key role in a 6-5 loss to Toronto that ended the Orioles’ run of 17 straight wins in extra innings.
Johnson got the last out in the 10th inning and retired the first two batters in the 11th before giving up back-to-back singles. The right-hander then hit Brett Lawrie with a pitch and issued a four-pitch walk to Maicer Izturis with the bases loaded to force in the tiebreaking run.
“I just had a hard time throwing a strike,” Johnson said. “Kind of lost feel. Obviously, that’s a terrible way to lose a game.”
Asked if his lack of command had anything to do with pitching a third straight day, Johnson replied: “No, I’ve done it many times before. I just lost feel. That’s basically all it is. It started with the Lawrie at-bat. I wasn’t able to get back on top of the baseball.”
And so, the Orioles had to settle for taking two of three from the Blue Jays and going 6-3 on a homestand against Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto.
“When you can win any series, especially in your division, that’s big. So we’ll take it,” Johnson said. “This is not going to dampen our spirits.”
Nor will the Orioles worry about the end of their extra-inning run, the longest since the Pittsburgh Pirates won 21 straight in 1959-60.
“It’s not something I dwell on,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I know our guys don’t. But I understand how it’s noteworthy.”
Esmil Rogers (1-1) pitched the 10th for Toronto and Casey Janssen got three straight outs for his sixth save.
Nate McLouth had two hits, walked twice and scored three runs for the Orioles.
Baltimore missed a chance to win it in the 10th when Manny Machado was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Rajai Davis while trying to score from second on a single by J.J. Hardy.
The Blue Jays hit four home runs off Josh Stinson, who was called up from the minors earlier in the day to make his Baltimore debut. Stinson gave up only five hits in 5 2/3 innings, but those included a two-run drive by Arencibia and solo shots by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Davis.
In his previous 20 big league games, with the Mets in 2011 and Milwaukee last year, Stinson allowed only two homers in 22 1-3 innings.
He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
Toronto starter Brandon Morrow took a two-hitter and a 5-2 lead into the seventh, but the right-hander failed in his bid to earn his first win of the season.
With one out, Nolan Reimold walked and Ryan Flaherty chased Morrow with an RBI double. Aaron Loup got an out before yielding an RBI single to McLouth, who scored on a triple by Machado.
Morrow gave up three earned runs and three hits — all of them doubles — in 6 1/3 innings.
Toronto manager John Gibbons didn’t go the distance, either. He received his first ejection of the year in the ninth inning after resuming an argument started by Lawrie over a called third strike.
“Basically, I was going out there to keep him from being thrown out,” Gibbons said.
The Orioles got a first-inning run when McLouth hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out double by Adam Jones, who improved to 12 for 29 (.414) with 10 RBIs against Morrow.
Stinson retired the first four batters he faced before walking Melky Cabrera. Arencibia followed with a shot to center, his fifth home run in the last 10 games.
Davis made it 3-1 in the third with his first homer in 42 at-bats this season. The Orioles got an unearned run in the bottom half after a throwing error by Lawrie from third base.
Encarnacion hit his second homer in two games in the fourth, and Bautista connected in the sixth to make it 5-2.
NOTES: The Blue Jays were without first baseman Adam Lind, who was placed on paternity leave. … To make room for Stinson, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Alex Burnett to Triple-A Norfolk. Burnett was recalled Monday and did not appear in a game. … The last Baltimore pitcher to yield four homers in a game was Jason Hammel against Toronto on May 30, 2012. … Blue Jays pitchers have allowed only two home runs in nine road games. … Baltimore heads to Oakland for a four-game series that begins Thursday night. Toronto continues its road trip Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)