Surging Orioles on edge of wild-card spot with win vs. slumping Blue Jays
TORONTO (AP) — Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman hit back-to-back home runs, Ramón Urías drove in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 Tuesday night, giving surging Baltimore its 10th win in 14 August games.
Dean Kremer (5-4) matched his career high by pitching seven innings, winning for the second time in three starts.
“That was the best pitching performance for him by far,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s huge for us and huge for him. That shows you the kind of pitcher he can be.”
Kremer allowed two runs and seven hits. He walked one and struck out six.
Ryan McKenna had an RBI hit as the Orioles (61-55) closed to within one-half game of Toronto (61-54). The Blue Jays hold the third and final spot in the AL wild-card standings, trailing Tampa Bay and Seattle.
“We’re having fun right now,” Kremer said. “Standings or not, we’re having a blast. Every win is another win.”
Dillon Tate worked the eighth and Félix Bautista struck out a pair in the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
The slumping Blue Jays lost for the ninth time in 12 games. Toronto is 4-9 in August.
“The key is we are not getting it done with runners in scoring position,” Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. said through a translator.
Toronto went 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position Tuesday and left four runners stranded.
Baltimore is 6-2 against the Blue Jays this season. The Orioles lost 14 of 19 meetings with Toronto in 2021.
Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (12-6) came in unbeaten in five career starts against the Orioles but couldn’t extend that streak, allowing four runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. Manoah struck out seven and walked four, matching a season-worst for the fourth time.
“We’re still in a playoff spot and we know we’re a playoff team,” Manoah said. “We’re struggling a bit right now but we’ll get it rolling again.”
Toronto’s only runs off Kremer came in the first when George Springer led off with a single and Guerrero homered, his 25th and second in two games.
Guerrero’s homer came off his bat at 111.3 miles per hour.
Toronto loaded the bases with one out in the third but Kremer got Matt Chapman to ground into a double play.
“One of the biggest plays in the game,” Hyde said.
Mullins and Rutschman tied it with back-to-back home runs in the fifth, going deep three pitches apart. Mullins homered for the 11th time, while Rutschman’s was his seventh.
“That was a huge lift for our team,” Hyde said.
It was the 10th time this season the Orioles hit consecutive home runs.
The Orioles took the lead and chased Manoah with a two-run sixth. Terrin Vavra walked, advanced on Rougned Odor’s groundout and scored on a two-out single by Urías.
“Today we were able to basically shrink the zone a little bit and capitalize on mistakes,” Mullins said of Baltimore’s approach against Manoah.
Manoah left after walking Jorge Mateo, who was nearly picked off first by reliever Anthony Bass, with the call standing after video review. McKenna made the most of the extra opportunity with an RBI single.
Blue Jays: RHP Julian Merryweather (strained right abdominal) struck out a pair in two scoreless innings in a rehab outing for Triple-A Buffalo Tuesday. Merryweather has not allowed a hit in five innings over four rehab appearances at three minor league levels.
Guerrero’s homer had a launch angle of 15 degrees, matching New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the lowest launch angle on a fence-clearing home run this season. Stanton did it against Boston on April 8.
WHO’S ON FIRST?
Rutschman took grounders at first base before the game. Hyde said he’d consider using Rutschman at first base in an emergency but would prefer not to have to.
RHP Austin Voth (3-1, 5.34) starts for Baltimore in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale. Toronto will activate RHP Ross Stripling (5.3, 3.16) off the injured list to face the Orioles. Stripling hasn’t pitched since July 30 because of a sore right hip.
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