When Brett Lawrie strokes a home run, it is time for his fellow teammates in the dugout to duck for cover.
After delivering a lethal blow, the supercharged third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays will motor around the bases with a purposeful stride and then leap into the dugout for a manly mashup of celebration.
It ultimately involves frightening exchanges of high-fives with Lawrie generating forces that would topple a Smart car on its side.
At the rate Lawrie is going these days, the Blue Jays better stock up on some body armour.
The Canadian-born player belted his second three-run home run in as many games Wednesday night against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre.
While Lawrie’s blast, his fifth of the year, helped stake Toronto to an early big lead, it wouldn’t last.
Taking full advantage of some shoddy Toronto pitching, the Orioles (10-10) roared back to lay claim to a topsy-turvy 10-8 victory over the Blue Jays (11-10) to knot the three-game series at 1-1.
Both teams took turns playing long ball with a total of seven home runs being hit, four by the Orioles, including two by Nelson Cruz, their designated hitter who drove in a total of five of Baltimore’s runs.
Drew Hutchison (1-1) will start the third and final game of the series for Toronto on Thursday against Bud Norris (0-1) of the Orioles before the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox arrive in town for the weekend.
It appeared early on that the Blue Jays were headed to a second consecutive triumph over their American League East rival, scoring six times in the bat-around second inning to secure a 6-1 lead.
Lawry played a big role in the uprising, clouting his home run off Baltimore starter Chris Tillman, who miraculously managed to survive the inning despite also serving up a second homer, a two-run job by Jose Reyes, his first of the season.
Lawrie’s batting average has slowly started to climb after a lackluster start to the season, but he has made the most of his at-bats, his 18 RBIs leading the team.
The early eruption helped rev up a small gathering of 15,202 that turned up for the contest, but the mood quickly turned sour.
The lead wasn’t large enough to protect for Dustin McGowan, the Toronto starter still trying to find his footing in a comeback season after several years of battling injuries.
It is obvious that McGowan still has a ways to go before he can be considered a trustworthy starter, coughing up a big lead in his second-straight outing.
McGowan was not on his game from the first inning, where he gave up his first of two Baltimore home runs to Chris Davis for an early 1-0 Orioles lead.
The Blue Jays quickly propped McGowan back up with their six-run outburst in the second, but Baltimore never folded, scoring twice in the third to trim Toronto’s lead to 6-3.
It really unravelled for McGowan in the fifth, where it was Baltimore’s turn to bat-around, sending 11 men to the plate and scoring six times to move back in front 9-6.
McGowan was given the hook after he loaded the bases for reliever Todd Redmond, who didn’t fare much better, surrendering a grand slam homer to Cruz that vaulted Baltimore in front 7-6.
Cruz, who homered for the first time back in the third, now has six on the season and 21 RBIs.
Redmond then allowed hits to the next three Baltimore batters, and was being roundly booed when a double off the bat of Matt Wieters plated the fifth run of the inning for Baltimore.
Another would follow on a sacrifice fly by J.J. Hardy before the inning mercifully ended for Toronto.
McGowan absorbed the loss, getting saddled with six of the Baltimore runs off five hits through four-plus innings, his record now 1-2.
Light-hitting Ryan Goins stroked a solo shot for Toronto in the sixth inning, his first of the season, but Weiters responded in kind in the seventh.
The Blue Jays challenged in the ninth with Baltimore closer Tommy Hunter on the mound looking for the save.
After a strikeout by Juan Francisco, Dioner Navarro and Colby Rasmus each responded with well-stroked singles bringing Lawrie to the plate.
Lawrie sprayed a hit the opposite way to right to load the bases for Jonathan Diaz, but Diaz hit into a game-ending double play to douse Toronto’s comeback hopes.
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