Playoff Bound Blue Jays Down Orioles in Opener of Final Regular Season Series
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Friday, September 25, 2020
Fresh off clinching their first postseason berth since 2016, the Toronto Blue Jays downed the Baltimore Orioles 10-5 in the opening game of their three game series at Sahlen Field, the final series of the abbreviated regular season.
Taijuan Walker started for Toronto and was perfect over three innings, striking out four in a 42-pitch tuneup effort.
The Blue Jays jumped to a 6-0 lead in the second inning off Orioles starter Jorge Lopez, sending ten men to the plate. Randal Grichuk got the party started with his 11th homerun of the season, a towering solo shot to left. The Jays added five more runs on four hits, including a two-run single by Teoscar Hernandez, and rbi singles by Danny Jansen and Bo Bichette.
Toronto added two more runs in the third to chase Lopez, who failed to get an out before being relieved by Thomas Eshelman. The line on Lopez was not pretty, the Orioles righthander giving up eight runs on nine hits over just two innings.
The hits just kept coming, Travis Shaw’s two-run homerun extending the Jays' lead to 10-0 after four innings.
Nate Pearson made his first appearance since August 18, and the young righthander, held to a pitch count, was impressive over one and two thirds innings, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two in relief of Walker. His fastball was clocked at an eye-popping 101 mph and his breaking ball was equally sharp. Shun Yamaguchi was not as impressive, relieving Pearson and surrendering back-to-back homeruns to the O’s Ramon Urias and Cedric Mullins. Yamaguchi’s struggles continued in the sixth, Orioles shortstop Jose Iglesias leading off with a no-doubter deep to left. After Ryan Mountcastle laced a one-out single to right that was the end of Yamaguchi’s night. An rbi double by Hanser Alberto off Ryan Borucki closed the book on Yamaguchi - four runs allowed on four hits, three of them homeruns in a mere two-thirds of an inning.
Thomas Hatch worked the seventh and eighth innings, yielding just one walk and Patrick Murphy finished up, allowing one run in the final frame. Hatch’s performance was particularly encouraging, showing the form he displayed earlier in the season.
Shaw finished 3 for 4 with two rbis including his sixth homerun to pace the Jays' fifteen hit attack. Every Jays starter had at least one hit.
The win kept the Jays' slim hopes of finishing ahead of the New York Yankees in playoff seeding alive. For that to happen, the Jays would have to sweep Baltimore over the weekend and the Yankees win no more than two of their three game series with the Miami Marlins. As it stands now, the Jays would face the Tampa Rays in the wildcard playoff series starting Tuesday.
The Jays and Orioles square off in game two of their series tomorrow night. Toronto hands the ball to Matt Shoemaker (0-1) while lefthander John Means (2-3) takes the mound for the Orioles.