Hammel, Orioles fall to Blue Jays, 7-6

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm •  Published: June 21, 2013

TORONTO (AP) — An extended break between starts helped Baltimore's Jason Hammel feel better, but he still couldn't come up with a win.

Rajai Davis singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for their ninth straight win, a 7-6 victory over the Orioles on Friday night.

Hammel hadn't pitched since June 12 after being skipped in the rotation because of flu-like symptoms. He allowed four runs and four hits in six innings, walked one and struck out seven.

"Stuff wise, comparable to the best all year," Hammel said. "I felt great. You never want to say a stomach virus helped me but, overall, I felt awesome. Body, physically, mentally, everything, I felt pretty good today. It was a pretty good outing."

Hammel is winless in four starts since beating Washington on May 27, but has worked at least six innings in his past three outings.

"He was strong, looked good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Good velocity, he looked crisp. He just made a couple mistakes in some places that we shouldn't have, to certain hitters."

Slugger Chris Davis hit his ML-leading 27th home run, a three-run shot in the sixth, and the Orioles also got homers from J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty, but it wasn't enough against Toronto.

"They're hot right now," Davis said of the surging Blue Jays. "They've been playing good baseball. This was a game we wanted to have to open up the series and maybe break their stride a little bit, but they battled all the way to the end and were able to come through."

Munenori Kawasaki hit his first career home run, a game-tying shot in the seventh inning, while Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion also connected.

Kawasaki went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Eight of his 17 RBIs this season have come against the Orioles: he also beat them with a two-run double in the ninth inning of a 6-5 win on May 26.

"The legend grows, the Kawasaki legend grows, and rightfully so," Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey said.

Casey Janssen (2-0) worked one inning for the win as Toronto reached .500 for the first time since July 30, 2012. The Blue Jays have won 13 of 16 and are 26-15 since May 2, when they were a season-worst 10-21.

"We've definitely come back to life, that's for sure," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Facing Orioles reliever Brian Matusz (2-1), Maicer Izturis singled to begin the ninth and moved to second on Josh Thole's sacrifice. Pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa was intentionally walked to bring up Kawasaki. With the crowd of 35,472 chanting his name, Kawasaki moved up both runners with a grounder.

"Unbelievable," Kawasaki said of the ovation. "I was nervous."

Pedro Strop came on to face Davis, who lined a single over the head of shortstop J.J. Hardy. Davis' teammates poured out of the dugout in celebration, mobbing him and tearing off his jersey.