Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jays attempt to take series vs. Orioles

MLB Baseball

The Toronto Blue Jays have one of the best lineups in the majors, something they’ve shown the Baltimore Orioles a few times this season. Now, the visiting Blue Jays hope to repeat the feat when the two teams play in their series finale Thursday night.

Baltimore and Toronto have split the first two games in this series, but the Jays overwhelmed the Orioles with offense Wednesday. The Jays rolled to a 10-2 victory over Baltimore, thanks to 15 hits and a pair of three-run innings.

Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each contributed three hits. Bichette had three RBIs and a two-run homer while Guerrero drove in two. Toronto also fared well in key situations, going 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Hyun Jin Ryu (8-5) earned the victory by giving up one run in five innings and pitching better after some recent problems.

Toronto ended this game with the second-highest average in the major leagues (.267). Baltimore has not been able to stop the Jays at times this year, giving up 64 runs in nine games.

On Wednesday, Toronto finished with four doubles and a homer, meaning that one-third of its hits went for extra-bases. Plus, the Jays scored in five of the nine innings, and the Orioles could not answer that.

Toronto also made a move, sending pitcher Trent Thornton back to Triple-A Buffalo and activating pitcher Trevor Richards, acquired from Milwaukee Tuesday. Richards pitched a scoreless sixth inning in his Blue Jay debut.

“I mean, you look at our lineup, it’s unreal,” Richards said during a conference call Wednesday. “I’m excited to be on this side of it.”

The Orioles finished Wednesday’s game with 10 hits but they went just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Starter Matt Harvey (3-10) lasted just 3 2/3 innings, gave up six runs and now has lost nine in a row.

“I think it was a tough night,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told the media. “Listen, Matt’s grinding right now and … he’s going to get some time off to kind of recharge a little bit. I think it’s important that he gets some time to rest. He’s really toed the rubber for us in his spot this entire first half.”

Baltimore’s hitting has been much better of late as players such as Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander have been heating up. Still, the Orioles sometimes experience trouble with runners in scoring position.

They’re also falling behind early a lot, which has forced early exits from starters and taxed an already-overworked bullpen. Baltimore has dealt with a tough schedule in the first half and, during a rebuild, doesn’t have the starting pitching depth to keep up at times.

The Orioles will start right-hander Dillon Tate (0-3, 4.29 ERA) as the opener. Tate has no decisions and a 6.87 ERA in 11 career appearances against Toronto.

Rookie Alek Manoah (2-0, 2.70) starts for the Blue Jays. He has no record and a 4.82 ERA versus Baltimore — and was thrown out when last pitching at Camden Yards two weeks ago.

The Orioles have placed third baseman Maikel Franco on the 10-day injured list and recalled infielder Kelvin Gutierrez from Triple-A Norfolk. Franco injured his ankle on June 30 trying to make a catch in Houston, and the injured list move was retroactive to Sunday. They called up Gutierrez from Norfolk and he played in the ninth at third, walking in his only at-bat.

–Field Level Media

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