TORONTO (AP)Raimel Tapia hit a three-run double, Jose Berrios pitched six innings to remain unbeaten against Baltimore, and the Toronto Blue Jays strengthened their position atop the AL wild card standings by beating the Orioles 6-3 Saturday.
George Springer had two hits and two RBIs, and Matt Chapman drove in a run and scored a run as Toronto (83-63) improved to 13-4 in September. The Blue Jays have won six of their last seven against Baltimore (75-69).
”I think we’re playing so well, like a team,” Berrios said. ”Everyone together in that group has been doing what he’s supposed to do. That’s why we’re getting a lot of wins so far.”
The Blue Jays lead the wild card race ahead of Seattle and Tampa Bay. Baltimore is 5 1/2 games back of the Rays (81-64) for the last wild card.
”We’ve got to bounce back and try to get one of these games,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Berrios (11-5) allowed two runs and seven hits to win his third straight decision. He is 8-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 11 starts against the Orioles.
”His outing, after a bullpen day, was gutsy and it was very much needed,” interim manager John Schneider said. ”That’s what you want from a frontline dude.”
Tim Mayza worked the seventh, Yimi Garcia gave up an RBI single in the eighth and Jordan Romano finished for his 34th save in 38 chances.
Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish (3-7) allowed five runs – three earned – and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, his second straight loss.
”Every loss is difficult at this point in the season,” Bradish said. ”It’s over with, so we’ve got to come out and play good tomorrow.”
Baltimore reliever Bryan Baker, who sparked a benches-clearing confrontation after gesturing to Toronto’s Teoscar ??Hernandez during a Sept. 6 game at Oriole Park, worked the seventh. Baker pitched around a pair of singles, striking out ??Hernandez to end the inning.
Tapia cleared the bases with a two-out double to center in the fifth, giving the Blue Jays a four-run lead. He also made a sensational leaping catch at the top of the left field wall to retire Orioles leadoff batter Cedric Mullins in the first, wagging his finger in the air after coming down with the ball.
”That tells you how much we want this,” Berrios said.
Orioles third baseman Ramon Urias made a throwing error on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s one-out grounder in the fifth, leading to three unearned runs.
Chapman hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and Springer made it 3-0 with a two-run double in the second.
Orioles rookie Gunnar Henderson cut the deficit to one run with a two-run, bases-loaded single in the third, but Berrios retired Terrin Vavra and Rougned Odor to end the rally.
Trailing 3-2 with runners at first and third and two out in the fourth, Baltimore tried to sneak the tying run home with a delayed double steal. Toronto caught Mullins in a rundown between third and home for the third out.
”Trying to steal a run there,” Hyde said. ”I’m not sure exactly what happened. (Mullins) just kind of froze a little bit.”
Schneider praised his team for recognizing the situation.
”Just good execution all around,” Schneider said. ”At that part of the order, we’re definitely going to try to take an out and try to get out of the inning.”
BUMPED AND BRUISED
After taking Tapia’s bad hop grounder off his chin on the final play of the first inning, Baltimore slugger Ryan Mountcastle took a Berrios fastball just above his left elbow to begin the second. Mountcastle stayed in to run the bases following a lengthy visit from the trainer, but Jesus Aguilar came on to play first base in the bottom half. The Orioles said X-rays on Mountcastle’s elbow did not reveal a fracture.
”We’ll see how he is tomorrow but it’s really sore right now,” Hyde said.
Blue Jays: C Alejandro Kirk (left hip) sat for the fourth straight day but ran on the field before the game.
TRAFFIC ON THE BASES
With runners at second and third in the second, Odor hit a high pop up that came down almost right on top of second base, where Vavra was standing. Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette collided with Vavra as he tracked the ball but kept his footing and reached back to make the grab.
”That’s a really hard play that Bo made look fairly easy,” Schneider said.
Springer made a headfirst diving catch to retire Urias for the first out of the fourth.
Orioles RHP Dean Kremer (7-5, 3.34 ERA) faces Blue Jays RHP Alek Manoah (14-7, 2.43 ERA) in Sunday’s series finale. Manoah is 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA in seven career games against Baltimore.
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