The Orioles have provided fans plenty of joy this season. Unfortunately for the brave souls in attendance at a cold and wet Camden Yards, Baltimore had little to offer tonight. The Blue Jays performed like a team that had more to play for and bested the O’s 5-1 in a game that never made it to the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays used timely hitting and a big fly from Vlad Guerrero Jr. to best Dean Kremer in his final start of the season. Baltimore managed only three hits against José Berríos before a steady rain finally proved to be too much.
The Blue Jays struck first with a pair of runs in the second inning. Teoscar Hernandez got things started with a single to right, and Kremer put the second runner on with a one-out walk. Both runners advanced when Raimel Tapia grounded out with a slow roller to first base, and Whit Merrifield stepped in with a pair of runners in scoring position.
Merrifield delivered with a two-run single to right field. Kyle Stowers slipped when he fielded the ball, but the rookie did not have a play either way. Kremer rebounded with a strikeout of Cavan Biggio to end the inning.
The Jays added another run in the third but did not manufacture it. Vald Guerrero Jr. launched a ball 422-feet over the left field wall to quickly extend the lead to three.
Baltimore, to its credit, responded in the bottom of the third. Jorge Mateo took advantage of the wet grass and picked up a bunt single with one away. Mateo, to no one’s surprise, broke for second on the first pitch to Cedric Mullins. The high fastball was designed to give Alexander Kirk a chance to nab Mateo, but the speedster beat the throw. Mateo passed Mullins for the American League lead in stolen bases with 35.
Mullins and Adley Rutschman both worked walks to load the bases for Anthony Santander. Santander nearly event the scored with a ball to right field, but Hernandez made a jumping catch on the warning track for the second out. Mateo walked home to give the Birds their first run of the game, but Ryan Mountcastle struck out on three consecutive curveballs to end the inning.
Merrifield picked up a bunt single of his own and advanced to second when Kremer threw the ball into right field. Merrifield advanced on a groundout and eventually scored on a wild pitch with two outs and two strikes to Biggio. Kremer struck out Biggio on the next pitch to end the inning, but Toronto led 4-1.
Kremer technically recorded a quality start with three earned runs in six innings. Nathan Ruiz shared on twitter that the game marked Baltimore’s 41st quality start of the season. The number matched the O’s’ total from 2020 and 2021 combined.
The average outing marked the end of an impressive season from Kremer. The 26-year-old rebounded from a woeful 2021 to reemerge as a rotation piece moving forward. Kremer helped anchor a rotation that lost John Means early in the season and never included Grayson Rodriguez. He earned plenty of respect along the way.
Keegan Akin replaced Kremer in the seventh inning. I’ve always associated Akin with Kremer after the duo debuted in 2020. Akin originally appeared to be the one making a comeback after a strong start to the season, but Kremer clearly resembles the better pitcher moving forward.
Toronto recorded a pair of hits before Rutschman threw out his second runner of the game. Akin followed with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
Brandon Hyde handed the ball to Yennier Canó to start the eighth. Baltimore acquired Canó, along with Cade Povich and a pair of teenagers, from the Twins in exchange for Jorge López at the deadline.
Canó allowed a leadoff single to Bo Bichette and a walk to Guerrero to start the inning. The 28-year-old retired Kirk and Hernandez before Matt Chapman snuck a ball by a diving Rougned Odor. Canó walked Tapia and then the tarp came out.
Baltimore can still win the season series against Toronto with a pair of wins to end the year. Mike Baumann will take the mound tomorrow evening against Mitch White.