TORONTO – Back-to-back homers from Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman in the fifth inning spurred the Baltimore Orioles to a come-from-behind 4-2 win against the struggling Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Baltimore (61-55) has won 10 of 14 in August to climb within a half-game behind Toronto for the third and final American League wild-card playoff berth. The Blue Jays (61-54) only have two wins in their last 10 outings.
With the game tied 2-2 after the home runs, the Orioles struck for two more in the sixth inning off Toronto starter Alek Manoah (12-6).
Terrin Vavra was issued a one-out walk. He advanced to second on a groundout to second and scored on a Ramon Urias single to centre.
Urias advanced to second when Blue Jays outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. bobbled his blooper and scored on Ryan McKenna’s sharp single to right field off Toronto reliever Anthony Bass.
Toronto right-fielder Teoscar Hernandez had a shot to throw out Urias, but catcher Alejandro Kirk failed to handle the one-hopper.
Orioles starter Dean Kremer (5-4) pitched a strong seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out six with one walk.
Manoah went 5 2/3 innings in his 107-pitch effort for four runs, four hits, four walks and seven strikeouts.
Santiago Espinal had a three-hit outing for Toronto.
George Springer led off the first inning with an infield hit and scored on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s team-leading 25th homer, this one to left field.
Manoah put the homer blazer on Guerrero. The Toronto starter gave up two early walks, and Mullins reached base on a Guerrero error. But Manoah had a no-hitter going until Rougned Odor smacked a sharp, two-out single to right field in the fourth inning.
After a pair of long fly ball outs to centre and right field to begin the fifth inning, Mullins and rookie catcher Rutschman belted back-to-back homers to tie the game.
The Blue Jays had an excellent opportunity to add to their 2-0 advantage in the third, but Matt Chapman hit into a double play with bases loaded to end the inning.
NOTHING TO SHOW FOR BO
Bo Bichette’s struggles continued. The Blue Jays shortstop went 0-for-3 with three groundouts.
Bichette was moved to seventh in the batting order after occupying the fourth or fifth spot since interim manager John Schneider replaced Charlie Montoyo last month.
“Just shaking things up, giving guys different looks, and seeing how it shakes out,” Schneider said.
The 37,940 at Rogers Centre greeted Odor with jeers every time he made a plate appearance this series.
Six years ago, the second baseman ignited a brawl when he punched former Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the face for a hard slide at second in a May 2016 game in Texas, when Odor was a member of the Rangers.
He also took exception to Bautista’s bat-flip homer in the 2015 American League Division series.
Blue Jays righty Ross Stripling (5-3) returns to the mound for the series finale against Baltimore’s Austin Voth (3-1) on Wednesday afternoon. Stripling (right glute/hip strain) hasn’t started for Toronto since a 5-3 win at home against the Detroit Tigers on July 30.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2022.
© 2022 The Canadian Press