The opener of a three-game series between American League East rivals Toronto and Baltimore was loaded with tension, energy and capped with a nailbiting finish.
Marco Estrada's no-hit bid ended with a bloop single in the eighth inning and the Blue Jays hung on for a 5-4 victory over the Orioles in a spirited affair at Rogers Centre on Friday night.
Toronto (37-32) put up five runs over the first three innings to give Estrada an early cushion. The 31-year-old right-hander issued four early walks and then retired 15 batters in a row before pinch-hitter Jimmy Paredes hit a flare that dropped into shallow left field.
That was it for Estrada, who threw 118 pitches and tipped his hat to the crowd of 32,322 as he received a standing ovation.
"I wanted to just keep going," he said. "If I had to throw 200 pitches today, I would have. It was just unfortunate I gave up that hit."
Brett Cecil gave up two runs in the ninth inning before striking out Chris Davis with the potential tying run at third base. The Blue Jays extended their winning streak to three games and have won nine straight home games.
The two teams have a history and it didn't take long for things to get heated.
Home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor warned both teams after Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was grazed by a pitch from Mike Wright (2-3) in the first inning. Gibbons came out to discuss the warning and was ejected.
Bautista had some words for the Baltimore dugout as he stood on first base. He later came around to score on an Edwin Encarnacion double.
In a game last April, the Orioles threw behind Bautista and he later voiced his displeasure with the players in the dugout. Adam Jones criticized Bautista for taking his time rounding the bases.
The Toronto slugger didn't want to get into another war of words on Friday.
"We show up here to the baseball field every single day to win games, we did that today with a great job by our starting pitcher," he said. "I'm not going to contribute to turning this into TMZ or a gossip column."
The Blue Jays scored twice in the first inning, added two runs in the second and tacked on another in the third.
Estrada (5-3) threw seven innings plus one batter and struck out six. He allowed one earned run as the Orioles scored twice in the eighth.
Roberto Osuna relieved Estrada but was tossed after hitting Jones with a pitch. Toronto bench coach DeMarlo Hale was also ejected.
Steve Delabar got the final two outs of the eighth as first base coach Tim Leiper took over as acting manager.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, meanwhile, had a few conversations with the umpires over the course of the game but things did not get heated.
"I don't get involved in all the drama," he said. "It's a game played by talented people who care and get emotional about things. Sometimes umpires react to a reaction. They had their reasons and you deal with it."
The Blue Jays remained two games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the East. The Rays beat Cleveland 4-1.
Notes: The game took three hours seven minutes to play. ... It was Gibbons' second ejection of the season. ... The Blue Jays outhit the Orioles 9-6. ... Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle (7-4, 4.01 earned-run average) is scheduled to start on Saturday afternoon against right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-0, 4.50). ... The Blue Jays lead the major leagues with 381 runs scored this season.
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