BALTIMORE—Second baseman Rougned Odor has had a tough start to August. Entering Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Odor was just 1-for-18.
That was forgotten when Odor hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth that propelled the Orioles to their 25th comeback win, 6-5 over Toronto before an announced crowd of 11,080 at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.
It was the Orioles’ second straight win over Toronto (60-50) and improved their standing in the wild-card race. They’re just two games behind the Blue Jays.
Austin Hays walked against Yimi Garcia (1-4) to begin the eighth, and then Odor hit an 0-1 pitch to right-center field for his 11th home run to put the Orioles (58-52) ahead, 6-5.
“It was amazing,” Odor said. “When all your team is waiting for you like that, it’s the best feeling ever.”
Reliever Nick Vespi (4-0) struck out the two batters he faced in the eighth, and closer Félix Bautista, buoyed by a new entrance video, registered his sixth save, pitching a scoreless ninth.
“He really takes his best at-bats when the game is on the line,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Odor. “He understands the situation. We’ve seen him get huge hits for us in big moments. He loves being in that spot.”
The Orioles are six games over .500 for the first time since May 23rd, 2017.
“You look around, and there’s a lot of good players on this team, a lot of young guys that not a lot of people know,” Odor said. “There’s a lot of good talent on this team, and we play together and we have fun, and when we have fun, a lot of good things happen.”
Cedric Mullins led off the first with a walk against Toronto starter Alek Manoah. Adley Rutschman singled to left. Anthony Santander hit a sinking line drive that Toronto centerfielder Whit Merrifield thought he caught, and both Mullins and Rutschman were far off first and second. Merrifield threw the ball to Bo Bichette at short, who threw to first baseman Cavan Biggio.
It appeared the Orioles had hit into a triple play, but after Hyde appealed, it was ruled that Merrifield trapped the ball, and the bases were loaded.
“It was a big play,” Hyde said. “I was hoping we’d get that one, and we did, and they got it right. I liked it.”
Ryan Mountcastle grounded into a double play while Mullins scored. Rutschman came home on a single by Terrin Vavra.
Bichette hit his 16th home run with one out in the second to cut the Orioles lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the third, Santander was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to third on ground-rule double by Mountcastle. He scored on sacrifice fly to center by Vavra.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled against Oriole starter Kyle Bradish with one out in the sixth. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Alejandro Kirk to cut the lead to 3-2. Kirk moved to second on a wild pitch.
Bryan Baker replaced Bradish and walked Matt Chapman. Bichette hit his second home run of the game, giving Toronto a four-run inning and a 5-3 lead.
Bradish allowed three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all year, coming back late in games,” Bradish said. “If I can leave the game with a chance to win, then we’re in good hands.”
After the bottom of the sixth, the field was covered. Within five minutes, heavy rain began to fall and delayed the game by one hour, 18 minutes.
In the seventh, Mountcastle hit a double to score Rutschman, who had walked, to cut Toronto’s lead to 5-4.
That set the stage for Odor, a big-moment player who also comes up big on defense.
“The reason why our record is what it is because we’re staying in the game on the mound, our bullpen’s been really good and we’ve been playing outstanding defense,” Hyde said. “It’s not because we’re outscoring people.”
Notes: Oriole games have been delayed by rain for 11 hours, 51 minutes this season. Louis Head pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 inning in his Orioles debut. Head was the 53rd player used by the Orioles this season. … Dean Kremer (4-3, 3.43) will facesJosé Berrios (8-4, 5.19) on Wednesday night.
Minor league update: Centerfielder Kyle Stowers hit a grand-slam and drove in five runs, and second baseman Jordan Westburg hit a three-run homer and had five RBIs as Triple-A Norfolk beat Rochester, 11-4. Stowers’ home run was his 19th, and Westburg’s was his eighth.
Matt Harvey (3-1) allowed four runs on three hits in six innings. He walked two, struck out five and gave up three home runs.
The Akron Rubberducks scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Double-A Bowie, 6-5. The loss ended an eight-game winning streak for the Baysox. Third baseman César Prieto hit a three-run home run, his third, and centerfielder Colton Cowser had two hits. Cowser is batting .357.
Leftfielder Trendon Craig had three hits and drove in both Aberdeen runs in the IronBirds’ 3-2 loss to Hudson Valley.
Third baseman Isaac DeLeon hit a two-run home run, his eighth, as Single- A Delmarva lost to Carolina, 7-5.
Alexander Wells, who’s on the 60-day injured list because of left elbow inflammation, threw a hitless inning for the Florida Complex League Orioles in his first rehab appearance.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB