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Orioles 10, Blue Jays 8: Nelson Cruz Comes Through Once Again in Slugfest

In a game where the two teams combine for 28 hits, 18 runs and 7 homeruns, Nelson Cruz's grand slam proved to be the difference in the game. Tommy Hunter held on with the bases loaded in the 9th inning.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

What a game! The Orioles fell behind early thanks to a six-run 2nd inning by the Blue Jays. The Orioles clawed back with their own 6-run inning in the 5th, featuring the grand slam by Nelson Cruz that changed the entire complexion of the game, bringing the O's from 3 runs behind to 1 run ahead. The O's survived multiple chances by the Blue Jays, especially with bases loaded in the 9th inning, to win the game 10-8.

The O's got off to a good start in the top 1st. After two quick outs, Chris Davis hit monster HR to CF, just the No. 2 of the season for Davis. Hopefully this signals the end of Davis's power slump and Davis can regain his power stroke that produced 53 HR last season. The good start did not last long. In the bottom 2nd, Chris Tillman gave up a total of 5 hits, 2 walks, 1 HBP and 2 HR to hand the Blue Jays a 6-1 lead. Brett Lawrie and Jose Reyes did the heavy damage by hitting a 3-run and 2-run HR respectively. Homeruns were a problem for Tillman last season too, but his ability to limit them to solo shots helped him limit their damage. He wasn't so lucky tonight.

The O's slowly clawed back. In the 3rd inning, Nick Markakis drove in a run after a double by Jonathan Schoop. Then, in a terrible baserunning mistake, Markakis was picked off at 1st with Nelson Cruz at the plate. Markakis is no threat on the bases at all, so it doesn't make sense for him to wander so far off first base. The mistake proved costly when Cruz hit a solo HR after Markakis was picked off.

Luckily for the O's, the run did not change the outcome of the game. The O's had their own six-run inning in the 5th. The bottom of the lineup, Flaherty, Schoop and Lough loaded the bases with a walk, an infield single and a hit-by-pitch. After Markakis's pop out, Nelson Cruz stepped to the plate and hit his second HR to the second deck of the day. After the PED suspension last season, many were doubting Cruz's power numbers in Texas. It is nice to see Cruz proving the doubters, including me, wrong and enjoying his best season offensively so far this year. The inning was not over. After singles by Davis and Adam Jones, Wieters doubled to CF to score Davis. Jones the scored on a sacrifice fly by J.J. Hardy. The Orioles gathered 5 hits, 2 walks, 1 HBP in total in this inning, matching the Blue Jays' output in the 2nd.

The O's and the Blue Jays exchanged solo homeruns in the 6th and 7th. The Blue Jays scored on Ryan Goins's HR, while the O's scored on Matt Wieters's 4th HR of the season. Tillman exited in the sixth inning with 5.2 IP, 9 hits, 2 walk, 1 HBP, 3 HR, 7K. It was a nice recovery for Tillman after that rough 2nd inning. Ryan Webb, Brian Matusz and Darren O'Day all allowed baserunners to reach scoring positions, but the Blue Jays only tacked on a run in the 7th on a RBI single by PH Josh Thole.

Things got interesting in the 9th when Tommy Hunter entered to close the game. After one out, Hunter allowed three straight singles to load the bases. A single would tie the game and a double would win it for the Blue Jays. As he has done so many times before, Hunter survived the scare by inducing a double play from Jonathan Diaz to complete the O's comeback. This is definitely one of the most exciting games the O's have played this season, and the O's climbed back to .500 with the win.