Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Colby Rasmus Homers for Second Straight Day as Blue Jays Rally to Edge the Orioles

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Colby Rasmus Homers for Second Straight Day as Blue Jays Rally to Edge the Orioles

Article excerpt

Rasmus goes long as Jays edge Orioles

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TORONTO - Even in a season filled with potholes, the Toronto Blue Jays have occasionally found their way.

Some may float the blind squirrel explanation but the underachieving American League East team got the job done Saturday.

Colby Rasmus homered for the second day in a row since returning from the disabled list, starter Esmil Rogers handcuffed the hard-hitting Orioles for six innings and the Toronto bullpen did its job in a 4-3 win over Baltimore.

With Toronto trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning, Rasmus drove in Moises Sierra with a majestic shot off the second deck in right field to give the Jays the lead. Baltimore ace Chris Tillman (16-6) had walked Sierra to open the inning.

It was Rasmus' 20th homer of the season and his second in as many games since returning to action Friday after being out since Aug. 11 with an oblique strain.

"I'm just happy to be here. Just glad to be back," Rasmus said in his southern drawl. "And happy to be able to give us a chance to win."

"He looks good," manager John Gibbons said of his centre-fielder. "That doesn't always happen when you're out for that long and you don't get a whole lot of work in."

Rasmus' moonshot off a Tillman change-up also made the Blue Jays the first team in the majors this season to boast five players with 20 homers, as Rasmus joined J.P. Arencibia, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion.

On Friday, Rasmus celebrated his return to action by slamming a fastball into the Baltimore bullpen.

"He's a good player, he's well rounded," said Tillman. "He hit a homer last night on a fastball in, tonight he hit one on a change-up. That goes to show you he's got a good game plan right now. He's swinging the bat well."

The Jays (68-80) snapped a four-game losing streak while the Orioles (78-70) lost their fourth in five outings as their wild-card charge continues to wobble. Baltimore outhit Toronto 8-6.

The win was especially sweet coming against a Baltimore team bristling with big bats, including a MLB-leading 198 homers. And against its ace.

"They may have the best offence in baseball, at least one of the top ones,'" said Gibbons. "So they keep coming at you. It's never easy. They hit home runs. You always feel on edge, especially when they get guys on base because most of those guys in that lineup can pop one on you. So it's never easy facing those guys. And Tillman was great today too. Colby ended up getting to him late but other than that, he was dynamite too."

The late-afternoon game opened in sunlight, 15-degree temperatures and the roof open for the crowd of 29,942. It was a happy Junior Jays Saturday all around with young Jays fans allowed to run the bases after the game.

Tillman, in his 30th start of the season, gave up two runs in the first inning before settling down. Combined with the Orioles' stingy defence, it made for slim pickings for the Jays until Rasmus found the fence. …

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