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Orioles ride season-high 19 hits to beat Blue Jays, 11-6

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Matt Wieters was a triple shy of the cycle, three other Orioles had three hits, and Jonathan Schoop hit a massive homer. It was good.

Jonathan Schoop is showered with sunflower seeds after crushing a massive homer.
Jonathan Schoop is showered with sunflower seeds after crushing a massive homer.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles, in spite of their assorted flaws, are a good baseball team. This is a reality that cannot be denied as the Orioles keep racking up wins against quality competition. The offense went bonkers for all of the Birdland dads in the series finale against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, giving the O’s an 11-6 win over the surging Jays.

With this win, the Orioles have gone through a stretch of six games against their two closest division competitors by going 4-2 in those games. That’s pretty good, although for all of that, the O’s still hold just a one game lead over the Red Sox, and the Jays are not far back at three games.

As for today’s game, it was a season-high 19 hits that fueled the Orioles over the Jays. They went 7-14 with runners in scoring position in the game. They needed a lot of those hits in order to keep up with the back-and-forth scoring early on and in the end they made use of the hits to build a nice cushion for a relatively safe finish.

The first wave

Toronto starting pitcher Marcus Stroman has had his struggles against AL East opposition this year. In his previous four starts within the division, he allowed 24 earned runs in 22 innings.

The Orioles welcomed Stroman to the game with two straight base hits, threatening early with no one out. A Mark Trumbo double play briefly gave hope to the Jays, but Stroman could not escape. Chris Davis singled in Adam Jones to bring the first run across the plate before Matt Wieters blasted his seventh home run of the season, putting the O’s up 3-0 early on.

This lead did not last. Though Chris Tillman has been the best Orioles starter by ERA this season, he had his problems today - namely, problems with home runs. It was as if he saw that Stroman allowed the home run to Wieters and decided, "I can give up more home runs than that!"

The result was that the Jays picked up two two-run home runs in the top of the second inning. Russell Martin doubled and scored when Troy Tulowitzki hit his ninth home run of the year. The dude has barely done anything this year, but when he does, it tends to be a homer.

No big deal, right? The Orioles still had a lead. Yeah, about that... Kevin Pillar got on with an infield single and then Devon Travis hit another home run, his third of the year, to put the Jays up 4-3. Travis was 3-3 with three runs driven in during the game.

Some days putting the Orioles offense in a hole is only issuing them a challenge. Pedro Alvarez took up the challenge to start the bottom of the second inning with a single. He moved up to second base when Stroman tossed a wild pitch. Suspension substitute Ryan Flaherty drove in Alvarez in a curious play that resulted in Alvarez scoring and Flaherty being tagged out after going too far around first base. At least the run still counted. The game was tied.

The second wave

Tillman settled down from there. Although he only pitched for five innings, he held the Jays to five hits - four of them were concentrated in that second inning.

The Orioles offense, on the other hand, was not done with Stroman. They ambushed him again in the fourth inning. Wieters led off with a double and came home when Jonathan Schoop singled him home. The Orioles were back on top.

Stroman got two more outs before his inning was derailed. Flaherty, only in the game because of Manny Machado’s suspension, added to the O’s lead with a double that scored Schoop - and Flaherty himself was driven in by Adam Jones to give the O’s a 7-4 lead.

That sent Stroman packing from the game. His final line saw him give up seven runs on ten hits in only 3.2 innings. Stroman has a 5.23 ERA and somehow has a 6-3 record. Wins and losses are dumb. But Tillman is now 10-1 with a 3.11 ERA so obviously that means he’s good.

The O’s added an eighth run on three hits in the fifth inning. Wieters drove in Davis, who led off the inning with a double.

The third wave

An 8-4 lead did not mean the Orioles could rest easy. The Jays were not done scoring either. Though Odrisamer Despaigne pitched a scoreless sixth, he ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh inning. Tulowitzki and Travis doubles drove in another run. Another scored when J.J. Hardy took an error on a bad hop from a grounder hit by pinch hitter Justin Smoak.

Just like that it was 8-6. Things weren’t over just yet. With two outs and a man on base and reigning MVP Josh Donaldson coming to the plate, manager Buck Showalter summoned Brad Brach - even though it was only the seventh. Brach was quickly 0-2 on Donaldson, then fell behind 3-2 before getting the clutch strikeout.

After watching Zach Britton labor through an inning yesterday, this was enough to make you nervous - but only until the Orioles decided to score some more. They were not done socking around the Jays bullpen.

The Jays brought in a lefty just to face Davis. He doubled - his third hit of the game. Up came Wieters, a triple short of the cycle. Wieters poked a grounder down the third base line, where the shifted Jays defense was not playing. Davis scored easily.

Then Jays reliever Jesse Chavez left an 0-1 hanger to Jonathan Schoop and a very violent thing was done to that baseball. Just watch this video. Look where that ball lands! When, if ever, was the last time a ball went under the overhang in left field? Jays left fielder Michael Saunders never even bothered to start running.

The measured distance was 458 feet but it’s also possible they will need to replace a window at the Hilton.

Oh, and that meant it was 11-6 after Schoop’s 12th homer of the year. Following the game, he told a reporter who asked if he got all of the homer, "I think I got a little bit more in the tank." I’d like to see a ball go farther than that.

The widened lead meant no need for Britton. The O’s tried to push Brach the rest of the way for a 2.1 inning save - he entered in a save situation, after all - but Brach got to two outs in the ninth before he walked Travis. At 33 pitches, Buck decided that was enough for Brach. Brian Duensing retired the pesky Ryan Goins and the game was over.

The O’s head next for the one makeup game in Texas, which will be their second Machado-less game. Kevin Gausman draws the assignment for the O’s, while Derek Holland starts for Texas in the 8:05 game. The Rangers have the best record in the American League.