Rookie Richard Urena has been showing he’s comfortable at the big league level ever since the Blue Jays called him up earlier this month.
He proved it again on Tuesday night.
The 21-year-old Urena hit a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth to lift Toronto to a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles, extending the Blue Jays’ winning streak to four games.
The rally began when Zach Britton (2-1) walked Kevin Pillar to start the ninth, then gave up a line drive single to Teoscar Hernandez. Luke Maile drove in Pillar with a single to tie the game and Urena followed with a line drive to centre-field to plate pinch hitter Darwin Barney, who had reached on a force out.
‘Looks like he belongs’
“I just think he’s relaxed and he’s confident — he looks like he belongs,” manager John Gibbons said of the young shortstop. “There’s really no panic, he just looks like he’s been playing here for a while.”
Urena had a trio of singles on the night, extending his hit streak to five games. He has reached base in 8-of-9 games since he was promoted to the big leagues for the first time when rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
“I feel a lot of emotions, you dream about that,” Urena said through a translator. “You just come out here and try to do your job and it’s just a plus when you get a chance to win a game.”
Justin Smoak had an RBI double for the last-place Blue Jays (68-77) and Tim Mayza (1-0) pitched 1/3 of the ninth to earn his first win.
Tim Beckham had hit a tie-breaking solo homer off starter Joe Biagini in the eighth to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead. Mark Trumbo drove in the other run for the Orioles (71-74), who lost their sixth straight.
Biagini had baffled the Orioles for most of the game, not allowing an extra-base hit until the seventh, when Trey Mancini hit a double to left-field. Mancini came around to score on Trumbo’s single, tying the game to the displeasure of the 29,055 in attendance.
Biagini pitched a career-high eight innings, allowing two runs and six hits with two strikeouts and zero walks. He threw just 88 pitches, 63 for strikes.
“It’s been a frustrating season for me because I’ve been a lot less consistent than I would have liked to be,” Biagini said. “A game like this was almost really frustrating because it was not quite enough.
“I think that when you’re cruising along and you have it turn like that really quickly, it eats at you a little bit.”
Dylan Bundy started for Baltimore, allowing a run and five hits over six solid innings. He also walked one and struck out eight.
Smoak gave Toronto a 1-0 lead by hitting a long double to right field to score Maile from first base in the third inning. Maile reached on a leadoff single, his fourth hit in eight at-bats.
Maile has two RBIs in his last three games after recording just one in his previous 19.
“Overall I’m putting more A-swings on the ball,” Maile said of his approach at the plate. “I’m not really getting cheated like I was earlier this year. I’m pretty happy about that.”
Bundy retired seven straight after Smoak’s run-scoring double in the third inning before running into a jam in the sixth with a leadoff single and a walk. But the Baltimore right-hander struck out Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales, then got a pop fly from Pillar to end the inning.
The Blue Jays had the tying and go-ahead runs on first and second with one out in the eighth. But Bautista popped out and Morales struck out to end the threat.
Toronto hit four balls to the warning track over the first four innings that were caught by Orioles outfielders — three by centre-fielder Adam Jones.