BALTIMORE (AP) -- First, Russ Adams failed to execute a suicide
squeeze. Then, hoping merely to avoid hitting into a double play,
he tapped a 15-foot roller that produced the only run Josh Towers
needed in his finest pitching performance in the major leagues.
Towers (3-1) walked one, struck out two and did not permit a
runner past first base in improving to 4-2 against his former team.
"I don't think I've thrown a better game than that," Towers
said. "It's just sweet doing it against Baltimore because they're
the best hitting team in baseball."
Miguel Batista worked a perfect ninth to earn his eighth save.
The game's first scoring threat came in the Toronto eighth, when
Eric Hinske drew a leadoff walk and Gregg Zaun followed by drawing
a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Alex Rios followed with a slow grounder to
short that resulted in a putout at second base, leaving runners at
Adams then fouled off a pitch on a suicide squeeze before taking
a protective swing at a 2-2 pitch, pushing a dribbler down the
first base line. By the time Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera reached
the ball, he was too late to nail Hinske at home and was unable to
throw out Adams at first base.
"I was just trying to battle, just trying to get something in
play and stay out of the double play," Adams said.
"He crushed it, didn't he?" Towers said with a grin. "In the
box score, it looks like a line drive to the gap."
It proved to be enough to give the Blue Jays their seventh win
in eight games, leaving them two games behind first-place Baltimore
in the AL East.
Towers threw only 92 pitches in his longest outing of the
"Location is the most important thing," he said. "If I throw
the ball where I want to -- on the corners -- and keep it out of the
middle of the plate, I'm going to have some success."
Pitching on 10 days rest after a rainout in Boston washed out
his previous scheduled start, Cabrera (1-2) gave up one run and
four hits in eight innings. He walked four and had a career-high
"He gave us everything. He pitched a great game," Orioles
manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He pitched good enough to win."
Not on this night, however, because Towers was even better.
"He was spotting the ball really well, keeping the ball down,"
Baltimore's Javy Lopez said. "He moved the ball almost every
pitch. That's what made him successful tonight."
The Orioles have lost two in a row to Toronto, managing only two
runs in 21 innings after scoring 62 runs during an eight-game
winning streak. Baltimore has just three hits in its last 15
innings, all of them singles.
"You have to expect something like that. This game has its ups
and downs," Lopez said.
There were precious few baserunners in the first seven innings,
and those that did reach didn't get past first base. Baltimore's
Brian Roberts set the tone by getting a leadoff single in the first
-- and then getting picked off.
"We have a tough lineup," Lopez said, "but there's always
somebody who can stop you from scoring runs. Unfortunately, the
other team's pitcher did better."
Toronto got three hits and two walks through the first six
innings, but two of the runners were caught stealing and a third
got wiped out on a double play.
Toronto's Vernon Wells went 0-for-4, and is 4-for-22 on the
road trip and 0-for-8 lifetime against Cabrera. ... It was only the
third time in 20 games that Baltimore did not hit a home run. ...
Roberts has at least one hit in 23 of 26 games this season.
Adam Wainwright strikes out 9, allowing only just two hits over six scoreless innings.
At age 35, Justin Verlander is having one of his finest seasons and has been at his best when the Astros need him most.
Christin Stewart, a September call-up, is getting a chance to play regularly as the Detroit Tigers' season winds down.
Marcell Ozuna puts the Cardinals up early with a solo home run in the second inning.
Francisco Mejia goes yard to give the Padres a win over the Rangers with a walk-off grand slam.
Rookie Francisco Mejia hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning and the San Diego Padres rallied to beat the Texas Rangers 7-3 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep in a matchup of last-place teams.