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Blue Jays fall to O's after eighth-inning bullpen meltdown

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The tying run scored when Brandon Fahey was hit
in the shin on an 0-2 pitch. Then Brian Roberts drew a bases-loaded
walk, and Baltimore got an insurance run via a wild pitch.

Strange stuff, sure, yet that didn't temper any of the delight
the Orioles derived from their 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue
Jays on Thursday night.

"No matter how you score, it's about winning," said Melvin
Mora, who drove in two runs.

The Orioles trailed 5-4 in the eighth before scoring three runs
-- on just two hits -- against four Toronto relievers.

Ramon Hernandez opened the inning with a double off Francisco
Rosario (1-1) and Kevin Millar walked before Scott Schoeneweis got
Corey Patterson to hit into a force at third.

Javy Lopez then singled off Justin Speier to load the bases, and
Speier forced in a run by hitting Fahey with a pitch.

"I'll take that anytime in that situation. It was 0-2. I'm fine
with that," Fahey said.

After Nick Markakis grounded into a force at the plate, Roberts
walked on a 3-2 pitch to end an eight-pitch at-bat. Scott Downs
came in to face Mora and threw a wild pitch, allowing another run
to score.

"You don't see that often, but we've had enough balls bounce
against us the entire season," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.
"At least the hitters put themselves in a position to fight of
some pitches and give themselves a chance to have something like
that happen."

Speier made no excuses for his wild, uneven performance.

"I made a pitch low and away to Lopez, he flared it to right.
On the 0-2 pitch, I threw a fork ball, made a bad pitch and hit
him. I hooked it. Sometimes it has a mind of its own," the
right-hander said. "I love the ball in that situation. I hope I
get it in the same situation against them in a few days. Make
things right again."

Kurt Birkins (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth and Chris Ray got
three straight outs in the ninth for his 15th save in 15 tries.

Toronto was 30-0 when leading after seven innings; Baltimore was
1-30 when trailing after seven.

Lyle Overbay had three hits for the Blue Jays, who were seeking
to win a fifth straight series. But the bullpen couldn't make it
happen.

"They were tired. We've been using them a lot. We took a
one-run lead into the eighth inning and it got away," Toronto
manager John Gibbons said.

Toronto starter Roy Halladay gave up three earned runs and eight
hits in six innings. The right-hander has gone 10 straight starts
since his lone loss, against Tampa Bay on April 9.

"It was a tough game. I wouldn't say frustrating, more like
challenging, especially later in the game," Halladay said. "A
mental challenge, them having at-bats like that."

Making his second major league start for the Orioles, Adam
Loewen took a 3-2 lead into the sixth, when the Blue Jays used five
straight singles and a bases-loaded walk to score three runs and
take a 5-3 lead.

One-out hits by Bengie Molina, Overbay and Aaron Hill loaded the
bases and chased Loewen. Todd Williams gave up an infield hit to
pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto, and Reed Johnson put Toronto up
with an RBI single to right before a walk to Vernon Wells forced in
a run.

Loewen allowed five runs, 11 hits and a walk.

The Orioles got a run back in their half of the sixth, using two
Toronto errors and a single to load the bases for Fahey, who drove
in a run with a grounder.

Baltimore completed the comeback in the eighth.

After Loewen retired Shea Hillenbrand with runners at the
corners and two outs in the first inning, the Blue Jays used
two-out RBI singles by Johnson and Alex Rios to take a 2-0 lead in
the second.

Baltimore pulled even in the third, getting four hits --
including RBI singles by Mora and Miguel Tejada.

A sacrifice fly by Mora put the Orioles up 3-2 in the fifth.

Game notes
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 40 minutes.
... Steve McNair, signed as quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens
late Thursday afternoon, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ...
Rios has not gone two straight starts without a hit this season.
... Tejada extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Molina and
Catalanotto stretched theirs to 10.