A sweep at Rogers Centre: O's stun Jays with five in the 11th, sweep series (updated)

TORONTO – The Orioles got a weekend’s worth of solid outings from their starting rotation and right-hander Dean Kremer joined the party today at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. But with a couple of key relievers not expected to pitch today, could the O’s bullpen hold a late lead without Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista?

They took a 2-1 lead to the last of the seventh, and after many missed chances earlier, Toronto did tie it up as reliever Mychal Givens made his season debut. He issued a leadoff walk and a bloop single followed. He would minimize the damage, but with one down, Matt Chapman's sac fly tied the game 2-2.

This game would go extra innings for the second day in a row in this series and the 2023 Orioles pulled out another one. With one amazing half inning. 

Each team scored in the tenth and then the Orioles plated five runs in the top of the 11th to record an impressive 8-3 win and a series sweep. They won on a day they could not use their entire bullpen and on a day they could not hold two one-run leads. 

The Orioles (31-16) recorded their first three-game sweep at Toronto since doing that April 22-24, 2005.

Baltinore has won five of six, nine of 12, 22 of 31 and 27 of the last 38 games. They are now 9-6 versus AL East teams and are 7-2 in their past nine division games. Today was their first three-game sweep against a divison team since sweeping Boston at Fenway Park April 2-4, 2021.

With one out in the 11th, Adam Frazier singled to left and placed runner Ryan McKenna advanced to third. He would score on Austin Hays' line single to center off right-hander Yimi Garcia for the 4-3 edge. Gunnar Henderson's single loaded the bases and Terrin Vavra pinch-hit for James McCann. On the first pitch he lined a huge two-run single to left-center for a 6-3 lead. 

Then Cedric Mullins' great day continued. His fifth hit of the game was a two-run double to right to open an 8-3 lead as he drilled a 3-2 fastball on the seventh pitch. 

Mullins went 5-for-6 and drove in three runs to up his batting average to .283, his OPS to .876 and his RBI count to 38. It was his third career five-hit game.

“I think it is really just routine," he said of the keys to having a good year. "Sticking with it every day. Keeping the routine and my approach is pretty important.

“Taking the series is first and foremost priority. In order to sweep, lot of things have to go your way and we were able to dominate those moments. AL East is a difficult division so to pull off this sweep shows where we are as a team."

Each team scored once in the 10th for a 3-3 tie. Mullins' fourth hit of the game, an RBI single in the top of the frame gave the O's a 3-2 lead, scoring placed runner Jorge Mateo. And he was not done.

But right-hander Austin Voth, who pitched a scoreless ninth, could not do it two innings in a row. Whit Merrifield's line single to center with one out scored the placed runner for the 3-3 tie. Mike Baumann came on to finish the tenth and he kept the 3-3 score. 

Baumann would be the sixth pitcher of the day and get the win, getting the final three outs in the 11th. Pitching for the fifth time in eight days, he got five big outs and his third win.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Mullins led the way today but it was a team win, where key reserves did well too and the bullpen stepped up.

"He (Mullins) is just playing an unbelievable brand of baseball right now on both sides," Hyde said. "Defense, incredible, Gold Glove defender and just hitting rockets all over the field and getting huge hits for us. He’s doing everything. And just the way we sucked it up out of the bullpen with Voth and Baumann who are both, you know I really had four innings of bullpen usage today once Kremer came out of the game and Voth went back out there for the second and then Mike Baumann, that’s an incredible 1 2/3 innings with a punchout.

“Just an incredible effort by everybody. I emptied the whole bench, used every pitcher we had available and we get a sweep on the road. That’s huge."

Trailing 1-0, the Orioles scored twice off Blue Jays starter, right-hander Kevin Gausman, in the top of the third to gain the early lead.

Batting ninth, shortstop Joey Ortiz smoked a leadoff double to left, a ball he hit 108 mph off the bat.  Mullins followed with a ground single to left, sending Ortiz to third. Mullins quickly stole second, making him 13-for-13 for the year to that point in steal attempts. Then Adley Rutschman hit a hard grounder up the middle and second baseman Merrifield made a diving stop and threw him out, but the tying run scored and it was 1-1. Anthony Santander’s grounder wide of first was fielded by Vlad Guerrero Jr. but his throw home was high and late and Mullins scored for the 2-1 lead, giving Santander his 26th RBI.

Toronto scored first on Chapman’s solo homer to left center to start their second inning with a 1-0 lead. Chapman hit No. 6 and got it good – 108 mph exit velocity on a ball that went 420 feet off Kremer.

Kremer would pitch out of a big jam later that inning, getting key outs of Kevin Kiermaier with a strikeout with two on and one out. And he got Bo Bichette to fly to right to strand the bases loaded. He stranded a one out double in the third and got a huge 6-4-3 double play off the bat of George Springer to get out of a first and third, one out jam in the fourth.

Through the fourth, Toronto was 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and had left six on base. Kremer was living on the edge, but getting big outs.

And the frustrations would go longer for the Jays as some clutch pitching was on display today for the Orioles. Toronto put two of the first three batters on in the sixth and with one out, Hyde went to the ‘pen for lefty Cionel Perez. He walked pinch-hitter Danny Jansen on four pitches to load the bases. But he then got Kevin Kiermaier to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, the third inning-ending double play today for Toronto.

The Orioles saw Kiermaier deny them in the visitor’s fourth when he made an amazing leaping catch up against the wall in left-center to rob Henderson of extra bases. After that Bichette made a diving stop at short to begin a 6-4-3 double play in an inning of sparkling Blue Jays defense.

Kremer allowed nine hits and one run over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. He walked two and fanned seven, throwing 105 pitches, a season-high and one fewer than his career high of 106 last September against Houston.

“We stuck to our game plan pretty well, myself and the relievers as well. We had a pretty concrete plan and just kind of attacked that way. Always try to string together good outings and progress as a pitcher throughout the season. This was a huge team win," said Kremer.

O's starting pitchers - Kyle Gibson, Grayson Rodriguez and Kremer - held Toronto to four earned runs in 17 1/3 innings in this series. 

After giving up the two runs in the third, Gausman pitched scoreless ball through the O's eighth on 115 pitches. He allowed six hits and the two runs with two walks and four strikeouts. His ERA is now 3.14 after his eighth quality start of the season his seventh outing allowing two earned runs or less.

The last time Gausman was in this pitch-count neighborhood was June 21, 2018, when he threw 114 for the Orioles against the Nationals. 

The O's pitchers held Toronto to 10 runs this series and they went 6-for-38 with runners in scoring positon. Vlad Guerrero Jr. was 1-for-13 with a single, no RBIs and six strikeouts this weekend.

In 2018 the Orioles went 0-10 at Rogers Centre. This year they are 3-0 in the same ballpark.

"I don’t think we are trying to make any sort of statement, I just think we’re tying to play our best baseball and coming to play to win no matter who we play. Not easy to play here on the road. Just really proud of our guy." Hyde said. 




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