- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2010

BALTIMORE | The largest opening day crowd in the 19-year history of Camden Yards was poised to celebrate an uplifting comeback victory by the Baltimore Orioles.

Then things got ugly, and it wasn’t long before the majority of those 48,891 fans were booing closer Michael Gonzalez for another pitiful performance.

Travis Snider doubled in a run and scored the tiebreaker in the ninth inning, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-6 victory Friday in Baltimore’s home opener.

“It’s nice to come up in a situation like that and deliver for your team, especially in a game like that where it was a back-and-forth battle,” Snider said. “Guys were playing their backsides off, and fortunately we came out on top.”

Baltimore took a 6-5 lead in the eighth when pinch-runner Felix Pie scored on a daring dash from first base on a two-out single by Cesar Izturis.

Then, for the second time in two games, Toronto rallied in the ninth. Gonzalez walked leadoff hitter Edwin Encarnacion and threw a wild pitch before yielding an RBI double to Snider. After a bunt by John McDonald moved Snider to third, Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly.

Gonzalez (0-2) was then removed — and jeered as he walked to the dugout.

Signed as a free agent during the offseason, Gonzalez has two blown saves in three chances and loaded the bases in the only save he converted. He has allowed four runs, four walks and five hits in two innings.

It was the fourth straight one-run game for the Orioles, who opened the season by losing two of three to Tampa Bay.

“We should have had three wins right now. That’s what’s getting under my skin,” Gonzalez said. “I know at the end of the day I’m going to get this done; it’s just a rough start for me right now.”

Regarding the jeers he heard after his home debut with the Orioles, he said, “I really don’t put much stock into that. I go out and get 10 straight, 11 straight (saves) and you’re not hearing the boos anymore. … But I need to turn this around, and I need to do it quick.”

Although manager Dave Trembley said he will stick with Gonzalez — at least for now — he conceded, “The game was ruined because we don’t close it out. Obviously Gonzalez isn’t off to the start he wants, or that we expected. But you live with it.”

Alex Gonzalez homered for the Blue Jays, 1-8 in Baltimore last year.

Casey Janssen (2-0) pitched one inning, and Kevin Gregg got three straight outs for his first save.

Miguel Tejada homered and had four RBIs for the Orioles, who overcame deficits of 3-0 in the first inning and 5-3 in the fifth. But Toronto had the last word.

“I feel bad because the guy’s just trying to do his job,” Tejada said. “Some guys start the season good, some guys start slow. I told him it’s a long season, and that tomorrow is going to be another day.”

Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts left after the first inning with an abdominal strain. The injury appeared to occur as he was sliding into second with a stolen base.

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. It was his first appearance in a regular-season game since he was struck in the left shin by a line drive last July 30.

Brandon Morrow got off to a rocky start in his Toronto debut, giving up three first-inning runs while fighting his control. He ended up permitting five runs, four hits and five walks in five innings.

“I’ve already put it behind me,” Morrow said. “I tried to forget about it the second I stepped back into the dugout.”

Soon after Orioles greats Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell simultaneously threw out the ceremonial first pitch, Toronto drained some of the enthusiasm from the crowd with a three-run first inning. After Lyle Overbay delivered a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, John Buck hit a liner to center that popped out of the glove of a retreating Adam Jones for a two-run double.

Baltimore tied it in the bottom half on just one hit — a two-run single by Tejada. Morrow walked four and hit a batter before inducing Garrett Atkins to hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

Gonzalez homered leading off the third, and an RBI single by Adam Lind made it 5-3 in the fifth. In the bottom half, Nick Markakis doubled and Tejada tied it with his first homer for the Orioles since Sept. 21, 2007.

NOTES: Toronto 2B Aaron Hill missed a 2nd straight game with a sore right hamstring. … Morrow, a diabetic, left his glucometer — the handheld machine that measures blood sugar levels — in the cab he took to Camden Yards. But he remembered the cab company, phoned them and the device was returned to him.

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