A ninth-inning comeback on Saturday means the visiting Toronto Blue Jays will play the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon with the Baltimore Orioles instead of trying to avoid a sweep.
The Blue Jays scored six runs in the ninth on Saturday to pull out a 10-7 victory and gain a split of the first two games of the series, also ending a five-game losing streak.
Left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (5-4, 3.43 ERA) will start for Toronto against Baltimore right-hander Matt Harvey (3-8, 7.76).
It will be hard to top the game on Saturday that included a career-best three home runs from Baltimore’s Ryan Mountcastle and two-homer games by teammate Cedric Mullins and Toronto’s Marcus Semien.
The Orioles’ six homers were their most in a game since Aug. 18, 2016. It was the first time in franchise history that their first six hits of a game were home runs.
“I’m feeling pretty good this month so far, and I’m going to try doing the same thing,” Mountcastle said. “Today I was seeing the ball well and felt like I was on everything. Obviously, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, so we need to keep moving forward.”
Then there was the bench-clearing incident in the fourth inning that resulted in the ejection of Blue Jays starter Alex Manoah, who allowed four home runs.
After Mountcastle and DJ Stewart hit back-to-back homers, Manoah hit Maikel Franco with a pitch close to his head. The benches emptied, but there were no punches.
“They told me he threw at the guy on purpose,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It was that simple.”
Manoah said that the umpires told him it was “bad timing.”
“I tried to get that fastball in, it slipped away,” Manoah said. “And I was kind of just confused at (Franco’s) reaction and things like that, kind of just questioning, ‘What’s going on, what’s wrong?’ Those were my hand gestures as I was walking towards him. I was kind of trying to figure out what was going on. Didn’t understand the frustration there.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde at first held back his players, led by infielder Freddy Galvis and catcher Pedro Severino.
“We were getting our team back, and then there was something said that I didn’t appreciate,” Hyde said. “So, that’s what happened. Then, we calmed down and went back to the dugout.”
When asked if he felt that Franco was intentionally hit, Hyde said: “Yeah, I did.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who homered in the first inning, hit a two-run, go-ahead double in the ninth.
The key to the comeback was Bo Bichette’s at-bat against Tyler Wells, who took over after Paul Fry walked Semien with the bases loaded and two out. After fouling off five pitches at two strikes, Bichette looped a two-run single to right that evaded Anthony Santander to tie the game.
“Give Bichette credit for an amazing at-bat,” Hyde said. “Put the ball in play on a tough slider, down and away, after a bunch of foul balls.”
Ryu faced Baltimore twice last season, going 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. In three career starts against Baltimore, he is 1-0, 3.00.
Harvey has faced the Blue Jays once, June 16, 2015, when he pitched seven scoreless innings for the New York Mets, allowing four hits and no walks.
–Field Level Media