Anthony Santander missed three games with a sore back, but the 28-year-old did some heavy lifting tonight. Santander announced his return by golfing a pair of low pitches over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. Dean Kremer outdueled Kevin Gausman, and the offense broke things open late in a 7-0 victory of Toronto.
Gausman has received Cy Young consideration this season and his talent was apparent tonight. The former Oriole had an extra tick or two on his fastball and his splitter kept batters off balance for most of the night.
Home plate umpire Adam Beck routinely granted Gausman the low strike which made things even more difficult for Baltimore. The former first-round pick posted a quality start with eight strikeouts and only five hits allowed over six innings.
Gausman pitched well, but Dean Kremer took things to another level. Baltimore had originally slated Kremer to pitch Thursday, but the Birds bumped him up a day after Jack Flaherty complained of arm soreness. Kremer received the news Tuesday afternoon, and he arrived at the ballpark ready to perform tonight.
The Blue Jays worked counts early, and Kremer needed 26 pitches to complete a scoreless first. He became more efficient as the game went on and averaged less than 15 pitches per inning from the second to the sixth.
Kremer retired the side in order during the next two innings. He struck out Daulton Varsho to start the second and K’d both Kevin Kiermaier and Bo Bichette in the third. Kremer retired Varsho to end the fourth after a two-out single by George Springer, and he wiped out a leadoff single by Matt Chapman by generating a double-play ball from Alejandro Kirk.
The former Dodger prospect faced the top of the order for the third time in the sixth but continued his success. Whit Merrifield bounced out to the pitcher, Ramón Urías made a tremendous stop to rob Bo Bichette, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. popped out for the third out after a two-out single by Belt.
In a world where the playoff rotation has yet to be determined, Kremer made another solid case for consideration. He limited Toronto to five hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter.
The Birds put Kremer in line for his 12th win with a run in the third inning. Gunnar Henderson led off with an opposite-field double. The rookie advanced and beat a strong throw to third after Santander flew out to deep center. Known Blue-Jay killer Ryan Mountcastle stepped in and delivered his most recent crime against Canada. Mountcastle sent a base hit sharply up the middle to plate the first run.
Austin Hays placed two runners in scoring position with a two-out double, but Cedric Mullins chased a nasty splitter to end the inning. The Orioles left five men on base between the second and the third, but Kremer and the gang only needed one run tonight.
Santander’s pair of golf shots provided plenty of offense and prime fodder for MASN’s Kevin Brown. His first blast traveled 393 feet at 99.5 MPH, and the second reached triple digits while sailing 370 feet from home plate.
Santander’s solo homers provided significant insurance, but the game remained a potential save situation until Baltimore broke things open in the eighth. Mountcastle walked, O’Hearn singled, and Toronto gifted the Orioles their fourth run of the game. Both runners broke on a pitch in the dirt, and they advanced 90 more feet when Kirk’s throw sailed into the outfield.
Mullins drove in the fifth run with a sacrifice fly to right center, and Jordan Westburg legged out an infield single after a replay review wiped away the third out. Westburg moved up on a single by Urías, and both players advanced after a wild pitch. Adley Rutschman broke the game open with a two-run single that handed Baltimore its sixth and seventh runs.
Jacob Webb and Yennier Cano pitched clean innings with the game still up in the air. Webb used the sweeper to strikeout Chapman in the seventh, and Cano benefited from possibly the most routine looking home run robbery of all time by Mullins in the eighth.
Shintaro Fujinami struck out Bichette, Belt, and Guerrero to retire the side in order and seal the victory the Orioles.
The win ensured Baltimore would not be swept for the 80th consecutive series. Mountcastle extended his on-base streak to 28 games, and Ryan O’Hearn joined Santander with a multi-hit game. Eight of the nine starters for Baltimore recorded a hit, and Mullins delivered a sacrifice fly.
Orioles pitchers combined for nine strikeouts and did not walk a batter all game.
The Orioles moved to 78-48 on the season. Tampa Bay battled back to defeat Colorado in extra innings. Brandon Hyde announced after the game that Kyle Gibson will start Thursday against the Jays.
Who was the most Birdland player on August 23?
This poll is closed
Anthony Santander (2-4, 2 homers in return)
Dean Kremer (6 shutout innings, 5 hits, 5 K, 0 BB)