Romano blows 1st save at home as Orioles avoid Blue Jays sweep
TORONTO (AP) — Adley Rutschman hit a two-run single in the ninth inning and the Baltimore Orioles turned the 15th triple play in team history, rallying to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
“One of our better wins of the year, especially with the last couple of days being so disappointing,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Jesús Aguilar hit a solo homer, his first with the Orioles, as Baltimore (76-69) won for the second time in its past eight meetings with Toronto (83-64). Rutschman went 2 for 3 with two walks.
The Orioles have their highest win total since finishing 89-73 and earning a wild card in 2016. Baltimore went 75-87 in 2017.
“We have a tough time having easy wins,” Hyde said. “It makes us excited. There’s a lot of fight in our club, and I don’t see us stopping.”
Joey Krehbiel (5-4) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Félix Bautista earned his 14th save in 15 chances, pitching around George Springer’s two-out RBI double.
Springer thought he had connected for a tying homer, but his drive to center hit off the wall. Cavan Biggio scored after reaching on a two-out walk.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walked but Bautista got Bo Bichette to ground out, ending the game.
Guerrero and Danny Jansen hit solo homers for the Blue Jays, who maintained their position atop the AL wild-card standings.
Baltimore trailed 3-2 before rallying in the ninth against Jordan Romano (5-4). Pinch-hitters Kyle Stowers and Ramón Urías singled and Cedric Mullins walked before Rutschman lined a two-run single to left.
“That was a super pro at-bat,” Hyde said. “He got something he could handle out over the plate, stayed on it, and a base hit the other way.”
Rutschman has 16 doubles, 20 RBIs, and 39 walks in 50 games since the All-Star break.
“It was definitely a big moment,” Rutschman said. “When you’re in the box, you just try and relax as much as you can and stick to your approach.”
Anthony Santander grounded into a double play, advancing Mullins to third, and Aguilar made it 5-3 with a base hit to right.
“He got two enormous hits for us,” Hyde said of Aguilar.
The blown save was Romano’s fifth.
“He’s arguably the best in the league, and he just didn’t have it today,” interim Toronto manager John Schneider said. “I think his slider was a little bit flat. I think they were sitting on it.”
Baltimore turned a triple play to get right-hander Dean Kremer out of a jam in the third. It was its first since Aug. 3, 2017, against Detroit, and No. 15 since becoming the Orioles in 1954.
Springer was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Guerrero walked and Bichette opened the scoring with an RBI single to left, putting runners at first and second.
Matt Chapman followed with a liner right at shortstop Jorge Mateo, who flipped to second baseman Terrin Vavra to double off Guerrero. Vavra promptly fired the ball to first baseman Aguilar to retire Bichette before he could dive back to the bag.
“It came at the right time,” Hyde said.
It was the 10th time the Blue Jays have hit into a triple play since joining the AL in 1977. The New York Yankees turned a triple play against Toronto on June 17, 2021.
Jansen homered off Kremer in the fourth, his 13th. Guerrero hit a two-out drive off Dillon Tate in the seventh, his 29th.
Springer stayed in the game after being hit on the left elbow, briefly leaving the dugout between at-bats. He appeared uncomfortable after making contact on an infield popup in the fifth and struck out swinging in the seventh.
Kremer allowed two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked five, matching his career-worst.
Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah allowed one run and four hits in six innings.
Romano allowed a run for the first time in 15 appearances. He came in having allowed only one earned run in 28 home appearances this season.
Orioles: 1B Ryan Mountcastle (sore left elbow) was held out of the starting lineup. Mountcastle left Saturday’s game after being hit by a pitch from José Berríos.
Blue Jays: C Alejandro Kirk (left hip) sat for the fifth straight day but is expected to be ready to return Tuesday. The Blue Jays are off Monday. With Kirk out, Jansen caught Manoah for the first time this season.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wells (7-6, 3.93 ERA) starts Monday as Baltimore returns home to begin a three-game series against Detroit. LHP Tyler Alexander (3-10, 5.35 ERA) starts for the Tigers.
Blue Jays: RHP Ross Stripling (8-4, 2.94 ERA) starts Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series at Philadelphia. RHP Kyle Gibson (10-6, 4.45 ERA) goes for the Phillies.
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