BALTIMORE (AP) - For five innings, Brandon Morrow was absolutely brilliant.
Throwing strikes with uncanny precision, the Toronto Blue Jays right-hander mowed down the Baltimore Orioles without allowing a single baserunner.
It all fell apart in the sixth, when Morrow lost his perfect game and gave away the lead in what turned out to be a 6-2 defeat Saturday night.
The Orioles trailed 2-0 when Nolan Reimold led off the sixth with a single on a 3-1 pitch. One out later Blake Davis singled to right, and Reimold came in when shortstop Yunel Escobar mishandled a potential double-play grounder off the bat of Robert Andino.
After Nick Markakis fouled out, Adam Jones hit an opposite-field homer over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.
Prior to the sixth, Morrow struck out five and allowed only three balls out of the infield. Forty-four of his 56 pitches during that span were strikes.
``I was placing the ball pretty much wherever I wanted it, 95 up to almost 100 mph,' he said. ``So I was feeling good. I kept getting ahead of guys, got some quick outs, had good pitch count, everything was in my favor. Everything was there.'
The single by Reimold changed everything.
``Usually what happens in a situation like that, if you can just get something positive, the first hit seems to relax everybody and puts him in the stretch for the first time all night,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The sixth inning proved to be Morrow's undoing, although it wasn't all his fault. Had Escobar handled the grounder on the soggy infield, things might have been different.
``I thought Brandon had outstanding stuff tonight. He was dominant. A lot of power, a lot of strikes,' Toronto manager John Farrell said. ``Unfortunately in the one inning we give them the extra out when the ball skips off the wet surface and stays under Yunel's glove and ends up bringing Jones to the plate in that inning.'
Baltimore pulled away with a two-run eighth. Josh Bell walked and scored on a throwing error by center fielder Colby Rasmus, and Jones chased Morrow with an RBI single.
Morrow (8-6) gave up six runs, three earned, and four hits in 7 2-3 innings. It was only the seventh time in his 20 starts this season that the right-hander allowed more than three runs.
Chris Tillman (3-4) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings to earn his first win since May 11. Called up from Triple-A Norfolk before the game for his third stint with Baltimore, the right-hander struck out five and walked one to help the Orioles secure their third win in 11 games.
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 11 minutes. It was raining when the game started and for much of the night.
Rasmus homered for the Blue Jays, his first since coming over from St. Louis as part of an eight-player trade on July 27. But Toronto was unable to do much else against Tillman, who raised his career record to 7-14.
After Rasmus staked Toronto to a 1-0 lead in the second, Tillman retired the next 10 batters - a string that ended with a leadoff walk to Jose Molina in the sixth. A single and a hit batter loaded the bases with no outs before Molina scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Bautista.
NOTES: Baltimore did not strand a runner and Toronto had only two left on. ... To clear room for Tillman, Baltimore placed RHP Jake Arrieta on the 15-day disabled list. ... Orioles SS J.J. Hardy (ankle) and 1B Chris Davis (shoulder) both missed a second straight game. ... The Orioles send Alfredo Simon (3-4) to the mound in the series finale against Toronto lefty Ricky Romero (9-9), who leads the Blue Jays in innings (151), ERA (2.98) and wins. Romero is 5-1 in his last seven starts against Baltimore. ... The Orioles improved to 1-4 against Toronto in games started by Tillman.
The Associated Press News Service
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