The Orioles have been a great story this year, and they’ve been a pain in the side of the Blue Jays, who are looking to establish themselves down the stretch in the playoff race. Now, it looks like Toronto has found their stride against their AL East rival, as they have now won six of their last seven games against Baltimore.
Raimel Tapia and George Springer combined for a pair of big hits leading the Blue Jays to a 6-3 win over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Jose Berrios earned his 11th win of the season, as well as his third straight quality start for the month of September.
The day started off with a bang, as Tapia made a leaping catch against the left field wall to rob Cedric Mullins of an extra-base hit to lead off the game. Tapia, who has logged more innings in the outfield due to the injury of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., even gave a Dikembe Mutombo-esque finger wag after the catch, as if to say “Don’t hit it this way.”
For the second consecutive game, Matt Chapman got the Blue Jays on the board first. Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each singled to start the bottom of the 1st. Bo Bichette grounded into a fielder’s choice to advance Springer to third, with Bichette hustling to first to stay out of a double play. Chapman followed by hitting a sac fly to center field, scoring Springer. The Blue Jays’ lack of ability to score runs with runners in scoring position has been a frustrating thing for fans to watch all season, so it was good to see the Blue Jays get baserunners into scoring position and get them home.
Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio led off the second inning with single each, opening the door for Springer to drive them both in with a 2-run double.
Berrios let the Orioles back into the game with a two-run 3rd inning, as Gunnar Henderson singled in two runs with the bases loaded. Berrios got out of the inning, and never let Orioles threaten much the rest of the way.
His lead was cushioned some more in the 5th inning, as the Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs. Tapia made the most of another two-out opportunity, as he stepped in and crushed a ball to deep center field to clear the bases and give Toronto a 6-2 lead.
Berrios got all the way through the 6th inning, which is exactly what John Schneider would’ve liked considering yesterday was a bullpen game. Berrios has been a different guy down the stretch, compared to how things were going earlier in the season for him. He struck out Kyle Stowers to strand the bases loaded in the second inning, prompting Berrios to pump his fists and show some positive emotion.
Berrios’ ERA sits a 4.99, the lowest its been since Berrios defeated Detroit in late July. Although his ERA is still last in the AL, it has not been indicative of how much better he has been in the last three months. The Blue Jays wore their red threads today, which Berrios has been very successful in. However, it was revealed after the game that he lets his hitters make the decision on if they rock red or not. Today, it was Bo Bichette’s turn to decide. While the red jerseys may have had a curse on them a while ago, I’d say it’s safe to say they are okay when Berrios pitches.
Jordan Romano recorded his 34th save of the season, ranking second in the MLB behind Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase.
The vibes are good right now, as this marks the Blue Jays’ sixth straight series win. The magic number to clinch a playoff birth is now 11, with the Jays having an opportunity to scoreboard watch the rest of the day as the Mariners, Yankees, and Rays are all in action.