Guerrero Jr. hits three-run homer to power Blue Jays to 6-5 win over Orioles | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Guerrero Jr. hits three-run homer to power Blue Jays to 6-5 win over Orioles

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. celebrates after hitting a three-run home run off Baltimore Orioles pitcher Cade Povich during third-inning American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Thursday June 6, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Original Publication Date June 06, 2024 - 12:46 PM

TORONTO - With 100 games to go in the regular season, the Toronto Blue Jays have plenty of work to do to climb the standings and get back in the playoff mix.

Salvaging a split of their four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles was a good step along the way.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a three-run homer and Yusei Kikuchi threw six strong innings as the Blue Jays held on for a 6-5 victory against their American League East division rivals on Thursday.

"It was a hard-fought series for sure," said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. "I just couldn't be happier with how they responded after the first two (games)."

Baltimore was in full control of back-to-back routs earlier in the week, sapping Toronto's energy after a decent run of form last week.

A walkoff win on Wednesday helped restore some optimism and a strong performance in the series finale had the Blue Jays feeling bullish ahead of a six-game road trip starting Friday in Oakland.

"Obviously we're not in the position where we want to be," Kikuchi said via an interpreter. "But we've been grinding and everyone is working really hard and we haven't given up."

The offence has shown signs of life after a mediocre stretch over the first two months of the campaign. Injuries have hampered the pitching staff but the rotation has started to steady in recent weeks.

The Blue Jays (30-32) remain in the division basement but were only a game behind third-place Tampa Bay and Boston entering the evening games. Toronto was also only 3 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

Ernie Clement drove in a pair of runs and Justin Turner had two hits as the Blue Jays won for the seventh time in 10 games.

Kikuchi (3-5) allowed one earned run and four hits over his 89-pitch outing. He had six strikeouts and walked a batter.

"That’s probably the best I’ve seen him against us," said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. "He’s been good, but that was 97, 98 mile-an-hour bullets with a really good breaking ball and a change-up."

Yimi Garcia gave up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Ryan O'Hearn in the ninth inning before retiring pinch-hitter Kyle Stowers for his fourth save.

Adley Rutschman hit a pair of homers for the Orioles, who have dropped two straight but have still won 10 of their last 14 games.

Left-hander Cade Povich (0-1) made his big-league debut and showed no sign of nerves with two hitless innings out of the gate.

He ran into trouble in the third after issuing walks to Clement and Danny Jansen. Guerrero drove them in with his seventh homer of the year.

"That's a really big swing," said Schneider. "You look up and you have one hit and you've got three runs."

Toronto used back-to-back flares to tack on another run in the fourth. Right-fielder Anthony Santander and two infielders fought the sun as they converged on a ball off Daulton Varsho's bat that dropped in for a double.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed by lifting a ball that landed in virtually the same spot. That allowed Varsho — who was running on contact with two out — to scamper home.

Rutschman put Baltimore on the board in the sixth inning with a rainbow shot that landed in the first row of seats in left field.

The Blue Jays chased Povich in the bottom half of the frame after Turner hit a one-out single and Varsho walked. With Dillon Tate on the mound, Kiner-Falefa moved the runners over with a groundout and Clement drove them in with a single.

Povich, who threw 100 pitches, was charged with six earned runs. He gave up five hits, walked a pair and had two strikeouts.

"There wasn’t a lot of sleep the last couple of days," he said. "Tough to eat this morning, but it’s a great experience."

Nate Pearson worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning for Toronto.

Zach Pop, a native of Brampton, Ont., gave up a two-run shot to Rutschman in the eighth. It was Rutschman's 12th homer of the year.

Announced attendance was 39,215 and the game took two hours 26 minutes to play.

GETTING CLOSER

Schneider said right-hander Yariel Rodriguez had a "really good" outing for Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday night as he builds up for a potential return to the big leagues.

Rodriguez has been on the injured list since April 30 due to thoracic spine inflammation. He struck out four batters and did not allow a hit over three scoreless innings.

COMING UP

Chris Bassitt (6-6, 4.13 ERA) was scheduled to start the series opener against the Athletics. Fellow right-hander Luis Medina (0-0, 0.00) was tabbed to pitch for Oakland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2024.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
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