The Orioles managed only one home run in a three game set against the Pirates over the weekend. Baltimore elected to get the bigger bats out tonight after an AL East opponent arrived at Camden Yards.
The Orioles tagged Toronto with four homers to take the first of a pivotal three game series. Ramón Urías, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays all went yard in a 7-4 victory over the Jays.
Baltimore welcomed Toronto to town with a three-run first inning. Blue Jays’ starter Yusei Kikuchi struggled with his command throughout the night and the Orioles had no issue taking pitches. Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander both took free passes with one out in the first.
Ryan Mountcastle extended the inning by beating out a potential double play and the O’s took advantage of the extra opportunity. Urías laced an 0-1 fastball over the fence in right-center field to give Baltimore a commanding three-run lead.
Lyles gave a run back when Cavan Biggio blasted a get-me-over fastball in the top of the third, but Kikuchi did not have a shutdown inning in him. Adley Rutschman erased a leadoff single by Ryan McKenna with a 6-4-3 double play, but the Birds used some two-out lightning to their advantage.
Anthony Santander launched a screamer to left field that Raimel Tapia did not chase for very long. The drive marked the 20th homer of the year for Santander and the third round-tripper of the game for Baltimore.
Ryan Mountcastle followed Santander and lived up to his Jay-crushing reputation. Mountcastle skied a ball over Mount Waltimore at 109.1 MPH. The back-to-back jacks extended Baltimore’s lead to four.
The early advantage allowed Jordan Lyles to settle in against a talented Toronto lineup. Lyles coughed up a pair of solo homers on two pitches down the middle, but kept the Jays in check aside from the two mistakes.
Lyles scattered his other six hits with some timely pitching. He stranded two in the second and generated a clutch double play to work out of a jam in the fifth inning. Lyles exited with two outs in the sixth after allowing the homer to Matt Chapman and a walk to Danny Jansen.
Cionel Pérez replaced Lyles and used a 3-2 slider to strike out Cavan Biggio and end the inning.
Baltimore answered Chapman’s solo shot with its fourth four-bagger of the evening. Austin Hays, back in the lineup after missing four games with a sore oblique, equalled Mountcastle with another 426-foot blast to left field.
Dillon Tate struck out Whit Merrifield and Vald Guerrero Jr. in a clean seventh but allowed a pair of singles in the eighth. Brandon Hyde turned to Joey Krehbiel but the righty did not have his A-game tonight.
Krehbiel immediately allowed a single to Tapia that trimmed the lead to three. Matt Chapman went from first to third on the single and scored a pitch later on a sacrifice fly by Jansen. Krehbiel followed with an errant pick off attempt and a four-pitch walk to Biggio.
Hyde had seen enough.
The skipper turned to Félix Bautista for a four-out save and The Mountain needed only one pitch to manufacture a ground ball by Merrifield.
The Blue Jays scored runs in the third, sixth and eighth innings and Baltimore answered every time. Rutschman took his second walk of the game to start the ninth and went first to third after making a great read on a bloop by Santander.
Mountcastle delivered against the Jays once again with a sharply hit single to left field. The knock plated Rutschman and provided Baltimore a significant insurance run.
Guerrero reached on an error by Jorge Mateo to start the ninth, and Alejandro Kirk followed with a single that brought the tying run to the plate. The base runners triggered a meeting on the mound and Bautista responded after the chat.
Bautista struck out Teoscar Hernández with his filthy splitter and produced a game-ending double play by Bichette. Bautista’s stature and arsenal command attention, but it’s extremely impressive to watch the rookie pitch in high-leverage situations with such confidence.
The win placed Baltimore within three games of Toronto for the first wild-card spot. The Orioles will have an opportunity to clinch the series and move closer to the Jays tomorrow with Kyle Bradish facing off against All-Star Alek Manoah.
Who was the Most Birdland Player on August 8?
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Ryan Mountcastle (2-3, HR, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI)
Ramón Urías (1-4, three-run homer in first)
Anthony Santander (2-3, HR, BB)
Félix Bautista (Four-out save, escaped trouble in eighth and ninth)