TORONTO – Matt Chapman had a solo home run and a two-run homer to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Friday.
George Springer’s three-run homer broke the game open for Toronto (82-63) and Bo Bichette extended his hit streak to nine games.
Relief pitcher Trevor Richards served as the so-called opener for the game, striking out all three batters he faced in the first inning.
Julian Merryweather pitched two scoreless innings before Yusei Kikuchi (5-7) took the mound for two innings, giving up two runs. Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, Anthony Bass pitched shutout ball until the ninth where Yimi Garcia gave up a run.
Adley Rutschman had a two-run homer in the fourth as Baltimore (75-68) briefly held the lead. Cedric Mullins had a triple in the same inning. Gunnar Henderson hit a home run with two outs in the ninth inning.
Jordan Lyles (10-11) gave up four runs on five hits over five innings, striking out five. Joey Krehbiel and Mike Baumann came on in relief with Krehbiel giving up two more runs.
The three-game series against the Orioles could be pivotal for the Blue Jays’ post-season hopes. Baltimore is chasing Toronto, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Seattle Mariners for one of the American League’s three wild-card spots.
Interim Blue Jays manager John Schneider was forced to make Friday a bullpen game as Toronto played six games in five days. That plan was complicated when Richards gave up five runs on 29 pitches in just 2/3 of an inning in the Blue Jays’ 11-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.
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Richards showed no ill effects from the previous night’s outing, striking out Cedric Mullins, Rutschman and Anthony Santander to start the game. Santander went down swinging, whiffing on a 93.6 m.p.h. four-seam fastball.
Chapman got Toronto on the board in the second inning, launching a Lyles 93.4 m.p.h. fastball to deep left field for his first homer since Aug. 20. His 25th home run of the season had an exit velocity of 105.9 m.p.h.
Mullins bounced the ball between centre-fielder George Springer and right-fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., sliding into the base to lead off the fourth inning with a triple. Rutschman then hit his 11th home run of the season 356 feet to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
Springer answered back for the Jays in the fifth, sailing a Lyles curveball 412 feet into the second deck in left field. He brought home Chapman and Raimel Tapia with his 21st home run of the season to make it 4-2.
Chapman piled on in the sixth with his second home run of the night. He took a Krehbiel 86.2 m.p.h change-up 364 feet to left field, cashing in Bo Bichette for a 6-2 lead. Bichette had reached base with a single to extend his hit streak.
Garcia got two quick outs in the ninth inning before Henderson hit his second homer of the season for the game’s final score.
LONG MEMORIES — Fans at Rogers Centre loudly booed Orioles second baseman Rougned Odor whenever he came to the plate. Blue Jays fans still hold animosity toward Odor from his time on the Texas Rangers when he sparked a benches-clearing brawl by punching a surprised Jose Bautista in the face.
KIRK AND GURRIEL — Schneider said before Friday’s game that catcher Alejandro Kirk and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would resume baseball activities. Kirk didn’t play against Tampa on Thursday due to tightness in his left hip. Gurriel is scheduled to come off the 10-day injured list on Sunday but Schneider said he may need more time.
ON DECK — José Berríos (10-5) gets the start for the Blue Jays on Saturday at 3:07 p.m. ET in the second game of their three-game set against Baltimore. Kyle Bradish (3-6) will take the mound for the Orioles.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2022.
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