BALTIMORE (AP) — Brandon Belt homered on Mike Baumann’s first pitch in the 10th inning, Daulton Varsho hit a two-run home run in the second and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Tuesday night.
The loss ended the Orioles’ three-game winning streak and cut their lead in the AL East over second-place Tampa Bay to two games.
With Bo Bichette on second base as the automatic runner in the 10th, Belt hit a liner into the right-field seats for his 14th homer, the third in two games. That gave Toronto the final push in a tight matchup of division contenders.
“A lot of times it comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes,” Belt said. “That’s how it turned out for us. Their guy just made a mistake over the middle and I took advantage of it.”
The Blue Jays have won five of seven and hit seven home runs in their last two games.
“That’s what it’s going to take for us to win this thing,” Belt said. “Everybody’s got to be contributing.”
Mostly Belt, who has reached base safely in 16 straight starts, hitting six homers in that span.
“He doesn’t really waver. When he’s getting a good pitch to hit, he’s not missing it,” manager John Schneider said. “He came through again.”
In a game that featured a variety of missed opportunities — the Orioles stranded 10 and went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position — Belt delivered the decisive blow.
“Belt’s been a really, really good hitter for a long time,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He was looking for a fastball out over the plate, and obviously he got every bit of it. We had our opportunities before that and didn’t quite get it done.”
Toronto added a run in the 10th on a wild pitch by Baumann (9-1), the first reliever in Orioles history to win his first nine decisions.
Tim Mayza (3-1) worked a perfect ninth and Jordan Romano got three outs for his 31st save in 34 tries.
Toronto starter Yusei Kikuchi gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time in seven starts since July 6 that the left-hander allowed more than two earned runs.
The Orioles trailed 3-1 in the fifth before chasing Kikuchi and pulling even against reliever Yimi Garcia. Jorge Mateo scored after Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen threw wildly to second base on a double steal, and Garcia yielded a two-out RBI double to rookie Jordan Westburg.
Earlier, after Austin Hays doubled in a first-inning run for Baltimore, Toronto went ahead in the second when rookie starter Grayson Rodriquez issued a leadoff walk and Varsho homered on an 0-2 pitch. Kevin Kiermaier added an RBI double in the fourth.
Baltimore’s Ryan Mountcastle received an intentional walk in the ninth to extend his career-high run of reaching base to 27 consecutive games. Before the walk, he was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Orioles right-hander Tyler Wells was optioned to Double-A Bowie in late July after he struggled in three straight starts, possibly because he had already pitched a career-high 113 2/3 innings. After being used sparingly at Bowie, Wells was transferred to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday. He will pitch out of the bullpen on Wednesday, a role he might assume upon returning to Baltimore. “We’re going to shorten his outings, have him throw less pitches and less innings and see how that goes,” Hyde said.