The last time the Orioles saw Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios, he didn’t hit them in the seventh inning and shut them out in 7.2 innings. He wasn’t able to repeat this act even if he managed to retire the first nine strikes in order. The offense hit him for five runs, including Anthony Santander’s massive home run, and that was enough support to send Kyle Gibson through eight innings.
After all was said and done, the O’s pulled off a 5-3 win over Toronto to bow out of a season series tilted 10-3 in Baltimore’s favour. That’s the kind of margin the Orioles have often found themselves on the side of in recent dark years, but here in 2023 the O’s are handing that out to a quality competitor like the Jays, who, by the way, have the best ERA of all the MLS teams. Times have changed for cool stuff, at least for now. At 79-48, these guys are on their way to 101 wins.
The first three innings of the game ended in the equivalent of a baseball game. Orioles starter Kyle Gibson and Jays outfielder Jose Berrios pitched perfect first-out fencing games through every opposing command, with not much of a high pitch count. The match ended in a third, goalless draw after just 33 minutes, which was kind to anyone in the stands or at home who waited the 70 minutes due to rain before the game began.
Events escalated once the batters began to take a second look at the pitchers. The Jays broke the perfect game end on Whit Merrifield’s fourth single of the first inning. AL hits leader Bo Bichette exemplified the benefits of calling in a few swing hits that rolled softly enough that no one played them.
As such, Toronto had two outs with neither out, and it got worse when Gibson walked Brandon belter to load the bases. The bases loaded for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not a good sight. Guerrero hit a groundout heading to left field before Gunnar Henderson swooped in to catch it. Henderson hit a hard throw to get one runner out at second base when he scored. Then George Springer made a trip to the caution lane, where he was caught by Cedric Mullins for the second time. The Jays’ second run was recorded. Gibson avoided further damage even after giving up another double.
The Orioles promptly regrouped. Adley Rutschman wrecked a little of his own by leadoff in the bottom of the fourth on a single. That was a bit of a relief, since the last time the Orioles faced the Berrios, they didn’t get a hit in the seventh. One stroke later, Anthony Santander got to the plate and did the following:
Not all home runs are created equal. Some have an inherent majesty to them. The sound of the bat, the way they fly a clear path to clear the fence and at great speed. And this, as you saw, was one of those. The game-tying homer Santander was later ruled to have landed on Utaw Street. It’s the ninth time Tony Tatters has done so in his career, which puts him in second place, now behind leader Chris Davis.
Gibson kept the Jays out of the board in the fifth inning, an often elusive “shutout run” that makes sure no good vibes are instantly dampened from a team tying a game or taking the lead. This allowed the bats to get back to work in the bottom of the inning, and the work they did. Austin Hayes led off the inning with a single to extend his hitting streak to a modest six games. Cedric Mullins promptly broke his homer, not as loud nor as loud as Santander but over the fence for two runs in the same fashion. The Orioles were never late again.
Before that inning was over, four consecutive Orioles hit singles brought home another run. This didn’t score more because while Adam Frazier was running home to score the Orioles’ fifth home run, Roachman was sacked trying to advance from first to third. This was the second exit. After another single, hit by Santander, the half ended with the O’s sitting in front at 5-2.
Toronto got one back and Gibson moved back to sixth. The Belt drove Gibson Stadium into the line of fans standing in front of the fence at the top of the out-of-town scoreboard, cutting the Jays’ deficit to 5-3. They began to get a chance to get more in the next inning – catcher Danny Jansen split the left center hole and when Mullins couldn’t catch the rebound cleanly, Jansen pulled close to second and drove to third. Mullins made a strong throw and, aided by Jansen’s late decision to try the old swimming move of avoiding the mark, Uriahs tagged him.
Still the number of runs low enough, Gibson was out for eighth. There was no drama with a few quick ground hits, and in 7.2 innings, Gibson hit the longest Orioles start of the year. He was out again for good measure, working behind the 3-0 count to hit the belt and cap off his night. In fairness, he was helped by board umpire Dan Iasugna who called a comically large area for the old 3-0 automatic kick, and Bilt oddly decided to try hitting at the 3-1 count. Then the belt stared at the third strike, which was actually in the area.
Eight innings! In fact, the starting pitcher is allowed to go eight innings. It was a fine effort from Gibson on a night when Yinir Kano and the since arrived Jacob Webb were not available. And as my wife noted, Gibson’s honor is probably going to eight in honor of Cal Ripken Jr.’s birthday today. Gibson’s streak was shut out at eight innings, six hits, one walk, three earned runs, and eight strikeouts. Yes, that will. The man was justifiably on fire when he ended his night with the hit:
If the starting pitcher can cross directly to the nearest fielder in the ninth inning, good things will often follow. Brandon Hyde’s gambit of not fielding Felix Bautista in the 10th inning Tuesday, which contributed to that loss, got him a chance to pay off two days later when The Mountain entered the bullpen with the task of retiring the Jays’ 4-5-6 batters to end the game. it worked.
Bautista was better than those jabroni. You already knew that. He proved it again, with two quick runs and an off-track warning after the 3-0 score that ended the game. The Orioles are back on the winning pole, putting the bracket on a 10-3 record against the Jays this season. Another AL East Series win was on the books as Bautista collected his 33rd save.
The Orioles continued to keep pace with the Rays, who won earlier in the day to hold the division lead at two games. The magic number to grab the division is down to 33.
With the rivals leaving town, the Orioles will take on the Rockies next. The Rockies have just come off a pathetic sweep at the hands of the Rays. The O’s will have to take care of business against those guys as well while the Rays get a date this weekend against the wallowing Yankees. Kyle Vreeland and Cole Irvin are the starting pitchers scheduled for the Friday 7:05 series opener.
Who is the most decorated Birdland player on August 24, 2023?
Kyle Gibson (longest start for an O’Rookie of the Year)
Anthony Santander (Eutaw Street tie-in player)
Cedric Mullins (Homer, Throwing the Fool Out)
Total 793 votes