TORONTO — This is a bad time for the Blue Jays bullpen to be going through a bumpy patch.
Hyun Soo Kim hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the ninth inning off closer Roberto Osuna, and the Orioles beat Toronto 3-2 on Wednesday night to move within one game of the AL wild card-leading Blue Jays.
Osuna (3-3) has five blown save chances, including two in his last three appearances.
“I feel good,” Osuna said through a translator. “I’m not worried at all. My fastball just stayed down the middle and he took advantage of it.”
Toronto has blown a lead in the ninth three times in four games, losing twice in that span.
Kim’s decisive drive came one inning after Mark Trumbo homered off set-up man Jason Grilli. The homer was Trumbo’s ML-leading 46th.
On Tuesday, Toronto reliever Joaquin Benoit was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn left calf, suffered while he ran in from the bullpen during a benches-clearing incident against New York on Monday.
“It’s not fun to lose a teammate, no matter who it is,” Grilli said. “But our morale is good. This is what September baseball is like.”
With Toronto ahead 2-1, Jonathan Schoop singled with one out, pinch-runner Michael Bourn stole second and Kim homered on a 3-2 pitch into the visiting bullpen in right, causing the Orioles relievers to jump in celebration.
Kim said he’d never hit a bigger home run.
“It’s hard to describe,” Kim said. “It’s just such a great feeling.”
Kim is 6 for 9 with two walks as a pinch hitter.
Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman said the dramatic victory could provide the Orioles with some much-needed momentum
“I think that could push a team a long way, those kind of wins,” Tillman said. “It was a big team win and everybody played a part in it.”
Brian Duensing (1-0) got one out, and Zach Britton finished for his 47th save in as many tries.
“Zach came in there and didn’t let the momentum get away from us,” Showalter said.
Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano struck out 10 over six shutout innings. Toronto starters have allowed one earned run or none in a team record seven straight games.
Liriano was perfect until Adam Jones singled to begin the fourth. Davis followed with a single by Liriano struck out the next three batters. Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth but Davis took a called third strike.
Liriano left to a standing ovation after Jonathan Schoop’s single put runners at first and second in the seventh. Brett Cecil came on and struck out Nolan Reimold before Troy Tulowitzki went deep into the hole to shortstop hole to retire Jones on a groundout.
Tillman allowed two runs — one earned — and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“My fastball command wasn’t there again,” he said, “but we were able to make some big pitches with the offspeed stuff and limit the damage.”
Blue Jays starters recorded consecutive games with at least 10 strikeouts for the first time since Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero did it in April 2011. Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 Tuesday.
PUT A LID ON IT
The stadium roof, which was partially open when the game began, slid shut in the second inning because of an expected thunderstorm.
Blue Jays: 2B Devon Travis (left shoulder) did not start for the second straight game. Travis jammed his surgically repaired shoulder in Monday’s benches-clearing brawl with New York. Ryan Goins started at second.
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-12, 5.71) starts for the Orioles in Thursday’s series finale, with RHP Marcus Stroman (9-9, 4.34) set to pitch for the Blue Jays. Stroman is 0-4 in seven starts since beating Houston on Aug. 14 but has allowed more than three earned runs just once in that span. Jimenez is 1-3 with an 8.41 ERA in six career games in Toronto.