Blue Jays defeat Orioles 5-1 rain-shortened game, magic number for home-field down to one

Evan Stack
1 year ago
Looking at the schedule going into the second half of the season, this series between the Blue Jays and the Orioles appeared to look like it would decide the playoff fate for one of the two teams. Thankfully, the Blue Jays have already claimed their spot in the playoffs, and the Orioles are simply looking to win the season series against Toronto and keep them from hosting the AL Wild Card series.
Amidst rain showers all night long and an eventual rain delay/shortened game, the Blue Jays capitalized off of a great start from Jose Berrios to win the first game of the final series of the season with a 5-1 win over Baltimore. The Blue Jays, who have won 90 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992-93, received another standout night from Whit Merrifield, as well as the 32nd home run of the year for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
With effects from Hurricane Ian spreading up and down the east coast of the US, this game (and even the entire series) warranted some speculation to if it was going to be played at all. There was a steady downpour for most of the night, but the umpires stopped the game with two outs in the top of the 8th with the bases loaded for the Blue Jays. It was an odd time to call the game; rain had been falling consistently all night, and there were several opportunities for a delay before then.
Merrifield kicked off the scoring in the second inning, as he cashed in singled in Teoscar Hernandez and Matt Chapman to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead. In the third inning, Guerrero crushed a solo home run to left field extending the lead to 3-0. Not even Baltimore’s new left field extensions could’ve held that home run in, as it landed a couple rows into the seats.
Berrios hardly dealt with any troubling innings, but the Orioles did threaten in the bottom of the third. A bunt single and two walks loaded the bases with one out, bringing up Anthony Santander. Santander smoked a changeup to right field, looking as if the Orioles were about to swing the game into their favor. However, Teoscar Hernandez, amongst all the slander he has taken in his career with some of his play in right field, leapt in front of the right field wall to rob Santander of extra bases. It turned out to be a sac fly, but it was the best case scenario for the Jays as soon as the ball left the bat.
It was smooth sailing for Berrios from there, as he completed his final regular season start of the season going six innings, allowing three hits, one run, three walks, and five strikeouts. Berrios’ season has been the ultimate Jekyll-Hyde tale, and it’s uncertain what his role in the playoffs will be yet. Nonetheless, his season ended on a good note.
Merrifield scored on a wild pitch in the 5th inning, part of a 3-for-3 night. Oddly enough, Merrifield was due up before the rain delay. Raimel Tapia went 2-for-3 to complement the offense, going towards another game in which the bottom of the order was a major contribution to the Blue Jays lineup.
The magic number to clinch WC1 is now down to one. The Mariners are currently losing to Detroit, so if that keeps up, Toronto will own home field for the first round of the playoffs. Mitch White is listed to start tomorrow evening, another game that’s expected to feature a lot of rain. If Seattle loses tonight, we’ll likely see the Blue Jays’ regulars have limited to no roles in the final two games.



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