BALTIMORE (AP) — When Welington Castillo came to the plate, a sellout crowd at Camden Yards began to cheer in anticipation of another electrifying performance.
And once again, the veteran catcher delivered in a big way.
Castillo hit a go-ahead home run for the second consecutive game to lead the Baltimore Orioles past the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 on Saturday night.
The Orioles improved to 15-3 at home — the best mark in the majors — and can complete a three-game sweep Sunday. Baltimore took over first place in the American League East by a half-game over the New York Yankees.
“This is a team, honestly, that we never felt when we’re losing the game, we’re going to give up,” Castillo said. “This is a team that can turn a (game) around really quick. Anybody on the team can do little stuff that can put us back in the game.”
Jose Bautista had given Toronto a 5-4 lead with a three-run homer off winning pitcher Mychal Givens (5-0) in the seventh. Baltimore responded in the bottom half when Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo hit one-out singles. Castillo followed with the biggest blow when he hit an 0-2 pitch from Danny Barnes (0-2) over the fence in left.
“It was a fastball that leaked back over the plate into his happy zone,” Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin said. “He is a good belt high fastball hitter and he didn’t miss it once again. Those (his home runs) stung a bit.”
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons declined to speak to the media after the game.
On Friday night, Castillo hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to give Baltimore a 5-3 win. Since coming off the 10-day DL on May 16, Castillo is 10 for 18 (.556) with three homers and 10 RBIs.
Darren O’Day pitched a perfect eighth, setting up Brad Brach to pick up his ninth save for Baltimore.
Manny Machado gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead with a solo shot in the third off Mike Bolsinger. Trumbo increased the margin to 4-1 with a two-run homer in the fifth, his sixth of the season.
“He grinds every at-bat,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Trumbo. “I’ve seen him have three hits and a couple home runs, and not have a good at-bat and it’s like he hasn’t gotten a hit in his whole life.”
Justin Smoak’s 10th homer of the season pulled the Blue Jays within 4-2 in the sixth off starter Kevin Gausman, who allowed 10 hits over six innings. Gausman was helped by three double plays in the opening four innings.
“Obviously I gave up a lot of hits, but that’s one of those things,” Gausman said. “I always kind of base my outing on how hard the balls are that got hit off me. I feel like they didn’t hit the ball too hard, especially early in the game. My defense came up huge.”
Kevin Pillar returned after serving a two-game suspension for yelling an anti-gay slur at Braves pitcher Jason Motte and had two hits for the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (right middle finger laceration) was placed on the 10-day DL for the third time this season. … Martin (left shoulder irritation) was activated from the DL. . RHP Cesar Valdez was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. OF Dwight Smith was sent down to the Bisons and C Mike Ohlman was designated for assignment.
Orioles: OF Seth Smith was back in the leadoff spot after being held out the previous game. Smith fouled a ball of his left cheek Thursday in Detroit.
Orioles: LHP Alex Katz was acquired from the White Sox for International Signing Bonus slots No. 45 and No. 75. He will report to Class A-Advanced Frederick.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (2-2, 3.60) has pitched well against the Orioles over his career, going 4-1 with 58 strikeouts and a 2.84 ERA in 12 appearances (10 starts).
Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (1-1, 3.02) is looking to pitch past the fifth inning for the first time in five starts.