BALTIMORE — Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been impressed with Welington Castillo’s mental toughness.
The veteran catcher, who recently came off the disabled list, showed that steely attitude in the series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Castillo hit a pair of homers, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the 10th inning, and Baltimore beat Toronto 5-3 Friday night.
Baltimore won for the second time in seven games but is just a half-game behind the first-place New York Yankees.
“Welington’s had a good track record of being a good offensive catcher and he’s done a good job for us defensively, obviously.” Showalter said. “As you’re around him, you really have an appreciation for it.”
Castillo tied the game 3-3 in the sixth with a towering two-run homer off Aaron Sanchez. Since coming off the 10-day DL on May 16 from right shoulder tendinitis, Castillo is 9 for 15 (.600) with two homers and seven RBIs.
“I don’t try to do too much,” said Castillo, who tied a career-high with four RBIs. “I don’t worry about my power. I know it’s going to come. I just tried to make good contact. It feels great.”
The Blue Jays seemingly took the lead in the seventh when reliever Darren O’Day struck out Justin Smoak with the bases loaded with two outs, but the ball got past Castillo, allowing a runner to score. After a manager’s review, however, Smoak was ruled out because the ball hit him during the swing, per major league rules.
After Mark Trumbo singled with two outs in the 10th, Castillo followed with a home run off Jason Grilli (1-4). It was his first career game-ending home run.
“I thought he was really throwing good, except for one pitch that burned us twice today,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said about Grilli. “He was ahead of Castillo, but he didn’t get it where he wanted.”
Mychal Givens (4-0) picked up the win for Baltimore.
The Orioles were coming off a 1-6 road trip where their starters struggled to go deep into games. Chris Tillman had not gone past five innings in either of his first two starts after returning from the DL (shoulder bursitis). This time, Tillman lasted six innings and allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
“It was much, much better,” Tillman said. “I only had one inning where it really got away from me. And like I said last time, I kind of got out of my rhythm and tried to do too much.”
Toronto’s Ezequiel Carrera started in place of center fielder Kevin Pillar, who was finishing his two-game suspension for yelling an anti-gay slur at Braves’ pitcher Jason Motte. The Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista, who was loudly booed each at bat, had a single, reached base three times and scored a run.
J.J. Hardy gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first. The Blue Jays answered with three runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Smoak, a double by Devon Travis and fielder’s choice by Ryan Goins.
There were two rain delays, spanning one hour and 27 minutes.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Orioles began a stretch of playing 15 of their next 18 games at Camden Yards. At 14-3, Baltimore has the least home losses of any club in the majors.
Blue Jays: OF Darrell Ceciliani (left shoulder) was placed on the 10-day DL. Anthony Alford was recalled from Double-A New Hampshire and got the start in left field.
Orioles: OF Seth Smith was out of the lineup after he fouled a ball of his left cheek Thursday in Detroit.
Blue Jays: RHP Mike Bolsinger was roughed up in his last outing Monday against the Braves when he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits, two walks and three hit batters over just 4 2/3 innings.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3) is looking to get on track after carrying a 7.19 ERA in nine starts this season. He is 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 14 career appearances against the Blue Jays.