BALTIMORE—Five months later, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays reprised their winner-take-all post-season showdown.
The stakes weren't as high yet the drama was palpable and the game was eerily similar.
Mark Trumbo homered with two outs in the 11th inning as the Orioles edged Toronto 3-2 yesterday afternoon for their seventh-straight opening-day victory.
Trumbo connected off Jason Grilli (0-1) on a 1-2 slider.
When he reached the plate, the reigning major-league home run king was doused in water by teammates and cheered heartily by those remaining from a sell-out crowd of 45,667.
The game was a rematch of last year's AL wild card playoff, won by Toronto 5-2 on an 11th-inning home run by Edwin Encarnacion.
This time, the Orioles prevailed with a game-ending blast.
“It did seem to have a similar feel," Trumbo said. "I'm glad this one turned out in our favour.”
The Orioles didn't put a runner in scoring position after the third inning. But with their power-laden lineup, one swing is all it takes to win a tight game like this.
Trumbo provided it.
“We have a lot of confidence that, if we get enough chances, we'll be able to do some damage,” he noted.
“I'm just happy to come through and take us home.”
The 25th opening day at Camden Yards began in the late afternoon and ended at dusk.
“This is one of those places you don't feel good when they get the last at-bat,” said Jays' manager John Gibbons.
“They are probably the top power hitting team in the game, top to bottom,” he noted.
“They can do that at home.”
Tyler Wilson (1-0), the fourth Baltimore reliever, pitched one shutout inning.
Grilli threw 15 pitchers—the last of which he lamented the most.
“I just left it fat. It was obviously not a good one," he remarked. "You make a mistake and you pay for it.”
Booed from introductions to his final at-bat, Toronto's Jose Bautista went 0-for-5 with a walk.
He grounded into an inning-ending double play in the ninth with the score tied and runners on first and second.
Starting on opening day for the first time, Baltimore's Kevin Gausman gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada also received his first opening day start.
The 10-year veteran allowed two runs over six innings and retired his last 10 batters.
Orioles' third baseman Manny Machado thrilled the crowd in the 11th inning—diving near the bag to snare a grounder before throwing a side-armed toss on one knee to retire Devon Travis by a step at first base.
“Who else makes that throw?" said Orioles' manager Buck Showalter. "Nobody.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Minnesota dumped Kansas City 7-1, Cleveland beat Texas 8-5, Houston blanked Seattle 3-0, and Oakland doubled the L.A. Angels 4-2
Detroit at Chicago White Sox was postponed.
Over in the NL, Washington doubled Miami 4-2, the N.Y. Mets blanked Atlanta 6-0, Colorado topped Milwaukee 7-5, Philadelphia edged Cincinnati 4-3, and the L.A. Dodgers bombed San Diego 14-3.
Boston beat Pittsburgh 5-3 in interleague play.