TORONTO – For the second day in a row, the Orioles had their frustrations on offense. And for the second day in a row, Toronto got one big swing to produce three runs that proved large in the fifth inning.
Toronto beat the Orioles 6-3 at Rogers Centre to take the first two games in this series. And that is the same score for the second day in a row as well.
With eight losses in 12 games, the Orioles (75-69) drop seven games back of Toronto and, for the moment, five games back of Tampa Bay for the third American League wild-card spot.
With hopes of a series win or even a sweep on Friday night, now the O’s have to win tomorrow or they will be swept three straight in Toronto.
The Orioles lost first baseman Ryan Mountcastle early today and we await further word if the issue will cause him to miss any time. Mountcastle was hit near the left elbow by a José Berríos 94 mph fastball leading off the O’s second. After a long meeting with head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and manager Brandon Hyde, he stayed in the game.
But when the O’s took the field for the last of the second, Jesús Aguilar had replaced Mountcastle at first base. Mountcastle is batting .243/.295/.429/.724 with 22 homers and 79 RBIs. Mountcastle has an OPS of .831 with 13 RBIs this month.
It was announced that he left due to an elbow contusion and initial X-rays were negative.
"Pretty sore. Got him in the tricep, right above the elbow. See how it is tomorrow, but he's really sore right now," Hyde said after the game.
O’s right-hander Kyle Bradish entered his outing today as a pitcher on a bit of a roll with an ERA of 1.44 his last four starts. And he was 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA over nine starts since coming off the injured list in late July. But today, the red-hot Blue Jays got to him early to produce a 3-0 lead.
George Springer, who hit a huge three-run homer last night, singled to start the home first and he moved up on a swinging bunt single to third by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bo Bichette’s grounder led to an out at second base and then a fly ball by Matt Chapman scored Springer for the 1-0 lead, his fourth RBI in two games.
Springer’s two-run double an inning later off the left-field wall extended the lead to 3-0 and gave him five RBIs in the series. That two-bagger scored Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal, who reached on one-out singles.
The O’s began today with four rookies in their lineup and the one taking the American League by storm right now, Gunnar Henderson, singled in two runs to pull them within 3-2 in the fourth.
Cedric Mullins singled to start the inning and went to third on Anthony Santander’s one-out double. Aguilar reached on catcher’s interference to load the bases. Then Henderson singled to right on a first-pitch changeup and he’s now driven in a run in all four games of this road trip.
Henderson, after that single, was 7-for-15 those four games with two doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBIs.
He finished 2-for-4 today, adding a double in the eighth and he has four straight multi-hit games. Henderson is 11-for-25 his past seven games with 10 RBIs.
The O’s had frustrations on offense early on today, too. They missed out on a big chance in the second when Rougned Odor popped out with two on and Kyle Stowers struck out with the bases loaded. With runners on first and third and two outs in the fourth, an apparent double steal was foiled after Adley Rutschman broke from second and Toronto threw down. A relay to home led to Mullins being retired in a rundown to end that inning.
"Trying to steal a run there," Hyde said of the attempted double steal. "I'm not sure exactly what happened. Ced said he kind of froze a bit. We're trying to steal a run and Chapman is playing way off (third). Had a fast guy at third, but he kind of froze a little bit."
For Toronto, the dagger hit came again in the fifth inning as left fielder Raimel Tapia’s three-run double turned a close 3-2 lead into a much more comfortable 6-2 margin. The inning started when Springer reached on an error charged to third baseman Ramón Urías. With two outs, two walks followed to load the bases. Reliever Jake Reed replaced Bradish and issued that second walk. And he also gave up Tapia’s three-run double to center on a 1-2 slider.
The deficit proved too big for an O’s team that was held to three runs or less for the 12th time in the past 20 games.
Terrin Vavra had two hits and his RBI single in the eighth scored Henderson for the final 6-3 margin. The O's six RBIs this series have come via rookies: three from Henderson, two from Rutschman and one from Vavra.
The O’s now have a losing record this year against the Blue Jays at 7-8. And Toronto has won six of the last seven between these teams, scoring 43 runs.
The surging Blue Jays (83-63) are 13-4 in September and have won 15 of their past 19 AL East games.
A few more postgame quotes:
Hyde on Rougned Odor's continued struggles: “He’s in a spot right now where that spot is coming up in big moments. He’s trying so hard. Trying so hard to come through and I know he’s disappointed. You know, I don’t know. He’s gotten some big hits for us this year and right now he’s scuffling.”
Hyde on team losing eight of 12: “I mean we had a tough loss and tough loss last night, too. We have to bounce back and try to get one of these games this series."
Bradish on his stuff early and current team position: “I mean early it wasn’t as good as it was late. The scoreboard says that. They got three runs early and kind of shut them down from there.
“Every loss is difficult at this point of the season. But that’s over with it, so we have to come out and play good tomorrow.”
Santander on the offense right now: “You know unfortunately, we are struggling a little bit. We’re not coming through with those hits in the moments we need them. Unfortunately, it’s a process and we’re stuck in a rut right now.
“I think we have to stay united. We’ve got to continue supporting each other through this. And just focus on every single pitch and do our best to do the best we can and that’s the only way we’re going to get through this.”