TORONTO - With his team looking to escape the eighth inning with a slim lead, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell thought he had the matchup he wanted to get the third out.
Wilson Betemit proved him wrong.
Betemit hit a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning off left-handed reliever Darren Oliver as the Baltimore Orioles overcame four solo home runs by the Blue Jays in a 7-5 victory on Friday.
"I had a good pitch to hit," Betemit said. "He threw me a fastball right down the middle."
With runners at first and third and two out, left-handed reliever Oliver (0-1) pitched carefully to Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who entered the game batting .364, and walked him.
That brought switch-hitter Betemit to the plate, who usually hits better left-handed. But his time the Orioles third baseman came through batting right, hitting a first-pitch fastball up the middle for a single that scored two runs.
It was the match-up Farrell wanted and it was the one that beat him.
"The match-up ended up being Betemit." Farrell said. "We wanted him batting right-handed. As well as Wieters came into the series swinging the bat we were okay with somewhat pitching around him with second base being open. We wanted Betemit hitting right-handed in that situation."
In his career, Betemit has hit .245 against left-handed pitchers as a right-handed batter and .276 as a left-handed hitter against right-handed pitchers.
"Wilson has had a couple of big hits for us right-handed," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I know exactly what (Farrell) is thinking. I'd have done the same thing. His better side is left-handed."
Right-hander Darren O'Day (1-0) picked up the win for Baltimore for one inning in relief.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his third save despite giving up an infield single to Brett Lawrie and hitting J.P. Arencibia with a pitch.
Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, Yunel Escobar and Edwin Encarnacion each hit solo home runs for Toronto against Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter.
Robert Andino and Adam Jones hit solo home runs for Baltimore against Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow, who allowed six hits, one walk and four runs while striking out four in seven innings.
"It was home run derby out there tonight," said Jones who was 3-for-4. "A lot of balls left the ballpark."
Nolan Reimold, who was 3-for-5 with two doubles, hit his first homer of the season off Casey Janssen in the ninth to bump Baltimore’s lead to two.
The four homers Hunter surrendered equalled his career high. He allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits and two walks in six-plus innings.
Reimold's leadoff double, a groundout and a sacrifice fly to left by Nick Markakis, put the Orioles (4-3) into a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Johnson homered to left in the bottom of the first, his second of the season. Johnson has hit in six of Toronto's seven games this season and has reached base in each of them.
Markakis sliced a double to left to lead off the fourth and scored on a single to centre by Jones. The next two outs were deep flies — to the right-field wall Matt Wieters and to the warning track in centre by Betemit — but Morrow survived.
The Blue Jays (4-3) tied the score in the bottom of fourth when Reimold was charged with an error on Adam Lind's sinking drive to left. Jose Bautista scored from first, avoiding Wieters' tag at the plate. He sprawled past the plate and then came back to touch it with his hand while diving.
The Orioles regained the lead in the fifth on Andino's first homer of the season, a one-out drive to centre.
The Blue Jays took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth on solo home runs by Rasmus and Escobar. They were the first homers of the season for both. It was Escobar's fifth homer in 32 career games against the Orioles.
Jones hit his second homer of the season to centre field with one out in the sixth for a 4-4 tie. But the Blue Jays went ahead again by one run in the bottom of the sixth when Encarnacion hit his second homer of the season, a one-out drive to left centre.
Hunter was removed from the game after walking Rasmus to lead off the home seventh.
Jason Frasor replaced Morrow in the eighth and allowed Reimold’s single and had a strike out before Oliver replaced him.
Reimold stole second and took third on an infield single to second by Markakis. Then after Oliver struck out Jones for the second out, Wieters walked to load the bases and Betemit drove in two runs with a single up the middle.
"Wieters is one of the hottest hitters right now so obviously we go after the next guy who's not swinging as hot a bat," Oliver said. "But it seemed like everybody was kind of swinging a hot bat tonight so we probably should have faced Wieters instead of Betemit maybe I might have had better luck."
Betemit also started a double play on Encarnacion’s hard grounder to end the bottom of the eighth.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 21,988. ....Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos was put on paternity leave after he travelled to California to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. He can be on the list for one to three days. ...Outfielder Travis Snider hit his second homer of the season for triple-A Las Vegas in an 8-5 loss to Fresno on Thursday and was batting .370 (10-for-27) after six games. ...Left-hander Evan Crawford was called up from double-A New Hampshire to take the place of Santos. ...Right-hander Henderson Alvarez (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will start today against Jason Hammel (1-0, 1.13 ERA).