TORONTO – A balanced scoring attack gave starter Alek Manoah more than enough support Monday as the Toronto Blue Jays kicked off a seven-game homestand with a blowout win at Rogers Center.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., hit his team-leading 15th home run and every Toronto starter had at least one hit and one run in an 11-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.
The Blue Jays (36-24) broke the game open with a seven-run fifth inning and had a season-high 19 hits on the night.
“When we were struggling at the beginning (of the year), I said, ‘They’re going to get hot, just be patient,'” said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo. “And they are right now. They’re having good at-bats and that’s why we’re winning more games.”
Manoah (8-1) pitched six shutout innings and gave up just one hit – a third-inning single to Jorge Mateo – and a walk while striking out seven.
“He uses both sides of the plate extremely well,” said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. “Tough to sit on any pitch against him. That’s why he’s 8-and-1.”
It was Manoah’s fourth scoreless outing of the season. He lowered his American League-leading earned-run average from 1.81 to 1.67.
“We attacked the game plan pretty good and once again just let that offence do their thing,” Manoah said.
Guerrero, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez had three hits apiece as the Blue Jays won for the 14th time in their last 18 games.
Baltimore (26-36) has lost its last seven meetings against Toronto dating back to last season.
George Springer led off with an infield single to extend his on-base streak to 23 games, the longest active streak in the big leagues. He gave Toronto the early lead when he scored on a single by Alejandro Kirk.
The Orioles put two runners on in the first and two more on in the third but could not push a run across against Manoah, who threw 57 of his 86 pitches for strikes.
“He gets tougher when he has to and makes big pitches when he has to,” Montoyo said. “And that’s why he’s probably right now one of the best pitchers in baseball because he does that. He limits the damage.”
Springer led off the third with a double and scored on a single by Guerrero to make it 2-0.
Baltimore starter Kyle Bradish was pulled in the fifth inning after giving up a one-out infield single to Guerrero that scored Cavan Biggio.
The Blue Jays piled on against reliever Logan Gillaspie. Hernandez hit an RBI double while Santiago Espinal and Raimel Tapia tacked on two-run singles.
Biggio extended the bat-around inning with an RBI triple, the fifth straight hit off Gillaspie. Austin Voth finally ended the outburst by getting Springer on a flyout.
Manoah, meanwhile, retired the last 10 batters he faced. The sophomore improved his career mark to 17-3, becoming the seventh pitcher in the modern era to earn 17 wins in his first 20 decisions.
Blue Jays right-hander Julian Merryweather picked up two outs in the seventh before leaving the game due to left side discomfort. Relievers Adam Cimber and Matt Gage also worked for Toronto.
Guerrero hit a no-doubt solo shot to the second deck – traveling an estimated 432 feet – in the eighth inning off Rico Garcia.
Bradish (1-4) gave up nine hits, five earned runs and a walk. He had three strikeouts.
Announced attendance was 19,716 and the game took three hours 17 minutes to play.
Blue Jays fans have a long memory when it comes to Orioles cleanup hitter Rougned Odor, who was greeted by a round of boos each time he came to the plate.
Odor leveled former Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista with a right hook to the jaw in a Toronto-Texas game in 2016. Bautista, who hit his famous bat flip homer in the 2015 playoffs against the Rangers, slid hard into second base to set off the melee.
Odor, who played for Texas until 2020, spent last season with the New York Yankees. He signed with the Orioles as a free agent last November.
MOMENT OF SILENCE:
A moment of silence was observed before the game in honor of Loretta Rogers. The matriarch of the Rogers family and longtime director at Rogers Communications died last week at age 83.
Rogers was the widow of company founder Ted Rogers, who died in 2008. Rogers Communications has owned the Blue Jays since 2000.
Left-fielder Kyle Stowers made his big-league debut for the Orioles after he was selected from Triple-A Norfolk before the game. He doubled in the seventh inning to drive in Adley Rutschman for Baltimore’s lone run.
The four-game series will continue Tuesday night as left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 4.44 ERA) starts against Baltimore right-hander Jordan Lyles (3-5, 4.97).
The Blue Jays will welcome the East Division-leading New York Yankees over the weekend.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2022.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press: