TORONTO (AP) - Even Lyle Overbay is stunned by Toronto's escalating home run totals.
Overbay hit a game-ending drive in the 11th inning and the slugging Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Saturday.
Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Hill and Travis Snider added solo drives for the Blue Jays, who lead the major leagues with 241 home runs this season, including a baseball-best 140 at home. Toronto hit a team-record 244 homers in 2000.
``It's ridiculous,' Overbay said. ``I've never been on a team like this that just consistently hits homers. That's what we do, homers, doubles and strikeouts.'
The Blue Jays have 305 doubles and 1,112 strikeouts. Entering play Saturday, they were third in the majors in two-base hits and, among AL teams, only Cleveland, Seattle and Tampa Bay had fanned more often.
The Blue Jays have won 13 straight home games against the Orioles, and 22 of 24 at the Rogers Centre against Baltimore. The Orioles' last victory in Toronto was a 7-5 win on Aug. 7, 2009.
Overbay won it with a leadoff drive to right on the second pitch he saw from Mark Hendrickson (1-6). It was Overbay's 20th homer, making him the fifth Blue Jays player to reach the mark this season.
``He missed his spot and left it over the middle of the plate,' Overbay said.
Overbay said manager Cito Gaston urged him to swing for the fences before his winning shot.
``He came up to me and said 'Don't be afraid to get your 20th right now,'' Overbay said. ``I was like, all right.'
David Purcey (1-1), the seventh Toronto pitcher, worked a scoreless inning for the win.
Baltimore's Ty Wigginton hit his 22nd homer off Casey Janssen in the seventh, but Encarnacion tied it at 4 with a drive to center off Jeremy Guthrie in the bottom half.
``That's a hard lineup to go through and I thought (Guthrie) pitched very effectively for the most part,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``Mistakes get magnified, especially in this ballpark. I went out to the mound and the wind just about picked you up and took you out. The ball is flying out of here whether it's open, closed or sideways. And they don't need any help. They certainly have enough power as it is.'
Like his manager, Guthrie said the cool, breezy afternoon made pitching difficult at times.
``You know what, it was crazy,' Guthrie said. ``I was not comfortable on the mound with how hard it was blowing in my face. It was blowing hard enough to the point where I felt like it would even take some of my pitches and push against them.'
Encarnacion's 16th homer denied Guthrie his first victory in Toronto since June 7, 2008. The right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
``Every one of their guys is a threat,' Guthrie said. ``If you leave a pitch up, they have a chance to go deep.'
Guthrie eclipsed 200 innings for the second straight season, the first Orioles pitcher to accomplish the feat since Mike Mussina and Sidney Ponson in 1999 and 2000.
``To take on that responsibility of getting deep in games and constantly feeling confident that he can give the bullpen a little blow, that's huge,' Showalter said. ``Even though it may not seem like it in the season we've had as a whole, that's impressive.'
Mike Gonzalez came on after Jose Molina followed Encarnacion's drive with a single to right. Mike McCoy ran for Molina and stole second after Travis Snider struck out. Yunel Escobar walked but Gonzalez escaped by striking out major league home run leader Jose Bautista.
The Blue Jays got the winning run to second with one out in the ninth but Jim Johnson threw a called third strike past John Buck and got Snider to ground out, sending it to extra innings.
Toronto's Vernon Wells made the defensive play of the game, a running, leaping catch to snare Wigginton's liner to center in the ninth.
Baltimore used three hits and three walks to score three times in the second against Ricky Romero. Brandon Snyder hit an RBI double before Julio Lugo and Nick Markakis each drew bases-loaded walks.
Hill replied with his 25th homer in the bottom half and Snider cut it to 3-2 with a one-out drive to right in the third, his 11th.
Romero allowed three runs and five hits in five innings, putting him over 200 innings for the first time. He matched a season high by walking five and struck out three.
The Orioles loaded the bases against Brian Tallet with one out in the sixth, but came up empty when Brian Roberts flied out and Lugo struck out looking.
Toronto tied it at 3 in the bottom half when Overbay hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Bautista also made a pretty defensive play, diving to catch Adam Jones' liner to right in the fifth, then throwing to first to double off Wigginton. It was his 12th outfield assist.
NOTES: Lugo started for the first time since Sept. 4 after being sidelined by recurring headaches. Lugo's last appearance came Sept. 10, when he pinch ran against Detroit. He started at DH. ... Baltimore RHP Rick VandenHurk will come out of the bullpen Sunday to make his first start of the season against Toronto RHP Shaun Marcum. ... Orioles C Matt Wieters was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game, but is expected to start Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved