Blue Jays look to keep recent mastery over Orioles

MLB

The Toronto Blue Jays will try to beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles for the fifth game in a row Saturday night at Buffalo.

The Blue Jays, who swept a three-game series in Baltimore last week, took the opener of a four-game series Friday night 5-4 on a two-run homer by Randal Grichuk against Cole Sulser with two out in the bottom of the 10th.

Grichuk also made a diving catch in left center on Anthony Santander with a runner at first and none out in the first.

Grichuk has nine homers this season, all since Aug. 14. He has 17 homers and 39 RBIs in 34 career games against Baltimore.

“Every time I see that guy in the batter’s box, my heart feels a little weary,” said Orioles third baseman Hanser Alberto, who had four singles Friday and the go-ahead RBI in the top of the 10th. “Pretty much he knows what we’re going to throw him and he’s ready for the pitch.”

With first base open, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde did not walk Grichuk intentionally or pitch around him.

“Well there’s a pretty good hitter (Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) hitting behind him, too,” Hyde said. “I know Grichuk has been doing damage against us, but I like the matchup, Sulser against him. Guerrero is swinging the bat really well against right-handed pitching this year. … and Sulser was throwing the ball great and just didn’t execute a pitch.”

Guerrero had a homer and a double Friday to extend his hit streak to 10 games.

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-2, 4.00), just acquired from the Seattle Mariners, in the second game of the series on Saturday and the Orioles will start right-hander Alex Cobb (1-2, 3.73).

Walker has not started since Aug. 19 because of off days in the schedule, the six-day starting rotation used by the Mariners and the trade to the Blue Jays for a player to be named.

In his most recent start, Walker earned the win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing three runs and four hits in seven innings. The longest outing by a Blue Jays starter has been six innings.

Walker does not see a problem having more time between starts than usual. “Off days don’t hurt, extra days don’t hurt,” Walker said Friday. “I feel good.”

At one time, he threw mostly fastballs and changeups but this season he said his cutter has evolved into “more of a true slider” and he has more confidence in his curveball.

He is 1-1 with a 4.29 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles but he has not faced them since 2016.

Cobb has faced the Blue Jays this season. He took the loss against Toronto on Aug. 17, allowing five runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. In 12 career starts against Toronto, Cobb is 3-6, 4.87.

Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano, who allowed the game-tying homer to Renato Nunez in the eighth, left the game with a finger injury one pitch later. He was undergoing tests.

“It wasn’t a blister, it was a right middle finger injury,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

The Blue Jays sent Brandon Drury to their alternate training site Friday, making room for Walker. Left-hander Thomas Pannone cleared waivers and was outrighted to the training site.

Toronto second baseman Cavan Biggio was 0-for-4 with a walk and has reached base safely in 20 straight games.

–Field Level Media

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