Jays rally in the 10th inning to beat Baltimore, end four-game spring losing streak

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DUNEDIN, Fla. - Jonathan Diaz beat a throw to the plate to complete a 10th-inning Toronto comeback as the Blue Jays rallied to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in Grapefruit League play Sunday.

Dariel Alvarez's 10th-inning homer off reliever Arik Sikula had given the Orioles a 3-2 lead.

Toronto pinch hitter Erik Kratz doubled with one out in the 10th and moved to third on a wild pitch. Diaz walked and Dan Johnson singled in Kratz to tie it at 3-3. Josh Thole then grounded out to second base but Diaz beat the double play attempt throw.

The win snapped a four-game spring losing streak for the Jays (7-10), who had looked poised to end that streak with a ninth-inning comeback.

Toronto sent it to extra innings with a run in the ninth after loading the bases with no outs off reliever Ryan Webb through a Johnson double and singles from Dioner Navarro and Chris Getz. Munenori Kawasaki then hit an RBI single to tie it at 2-2.

But the promising rally ended all too quickly.

Baltimore (10-6) brought in left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz, who retired Moises Sierra. Kevin Pillar then hit a double-play ball back to the pitcher to end the uprising. And the Orioles made the Jays pay in the 10th.

The Orioles went ahead 2-0 in the fourth on RBI doubles by Steve Clevenger and Ryan Flaherty after Adam Jones got on board on an infield hit and moved to second on a Todd Redmond wild pitch.

Toronto pulled one back in the bottom of the fourth.

On the plus side, the Jays continued to display good defence with Brett Lawrie handling hot shots at third in the second and fourth innings and Colby Rasmus tracking down a high ball in the wind in the third. Melky Cabrera gunned down Michael Almanzar from left field in the seventh as he tried to come home from second on a single.

Chunky catcher Navarro, however, was thrown out at the plate to snuff out a Jays rally in the seventh.

The game, played on a 26-degree day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium with a stiff wind blowing in from right field, drew a crowd of 4,605.

Redmond, the Jays starter, scattered four hits over five innings, giving up two runs. He struck out four and walked one.

He gave way to 2010 first-round draft choice Aaron Sanchez, whose fastball hit 97 m.p.h. on the speed gun during a Houdini-like appearance that saw the 21-year-old live dangerously but somehow survive.

Sanchez loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth but escaped with a double play that removed the lead runner and a groundout. In the seventh, he kept the Orioles from scoring after putting two men on base.

Redmond came into the game having given up seven earned runs and 11 hits in four spring outings for an ERA of 7.00. The 28-year-old right-hander is out of options, meaning another club could pick him up if the Jays sent his down.

Redmond had 1-2-3 innings in the first, third and fifth but had traffic on the bases in the second and fourth.

"My last two outings (have been) definitely in the right direction," said Redmond, hoping to stick with the big league team.

Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, who went 11-8 last season with a 3.78 ERA, retired 10 straight between first and fourth inning before running into some trouble. He exited after four innings, yielding one run on five hits with three strikouts.

Singles by Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Cabrera with two outs in the fourth produced a Jays run, with Jones' throw from centre making it close at the plate. Lawrie made it four singles in a row to load the bases but the five-foot-nine 205-pound Navarro grounded out to end the rally.

The Jays looked to do it again with two singles in the fifth against reliever Alfredo Aceves but second baseman Jemile Weeks snuffed out the charge with an acrobatic catch of an Encarnacion broken bat hit.

Organizations: Blue Jays, Grapefruit League

Geographic location: Toronto, Baltimore, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium

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