Balanced attack helps Jays keep pace in race
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and Kevin Pillar homered, while the Blue Jays had every player in their starting lineup record at least one hit en route to a lopsided 10-4 victory over the Orioles on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
The victory allowed Toronto to maintain its 1 1/2-game lead over the Yankees for first place in the American League East after New York came away with a 6-4 win vs. the Rays earlier in the day. Baltimore hasn't won a series since Aug. 14-17, which has dropped the Orioles to 6 1/2 games back for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Right-hander Marco Estrada earned the victory after allowing two runs over five innings. His lone blemish came in the fifth on a two-run shot by No. 9 hitter Ryan Flaherty. Estrada surrendered just two hits, but he issued four walks before handing things over to the bullpen.
"I was effectively wild, I guess," Estrada said. "Especially that first inning, I had no idea what I was doing out there. Everything was up, somehow got out of the inning and got a little better as the game went on, but it was one of those days that I didn't have my stuff, wasn't locating. It almost seemed like every time they swung, I happened to make a decent pitch and kind of got out of it."
Chris Tillman saw his struggles against the Blue Jays continue with another rough afternoon on the mound. Toronto has homered off Tillman nine times this season, and he is winless in the five starts. This also marked the second consecutive start that Tillman surrendered at least six runs.
"They're good on putting really good swings on pitches you're not making," Tillman said.
Ben Revere went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored out of the leadoff spot for Toronto. Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion also added a pair of hits as the Blue Jays reached double digits in scoring for the 22nd time this year, which is a club record.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bautista goes back-to-back: Bautista homered in the first inning for the second consecutive game and the sixth time this year. Mike Wright was the victim on Saturday afternoon, and the following day it was Tillman who served up a poorly located fastball on a 3-2 count. According to Statcast™, Bautista's two-run shot was projected to land 421 feet away and left his bat at 103 mph. Bautista finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored to move six RBIs away from 100.
"We're playing good baseball, we're gelling, we're having fun, we're enjoying ourselves when we come to the clubhouse," Bautista said. "It's fun to get out of bed in the morning and show up to the yard even though it's September and we're all tired. We've found enough energy in the fact that we're in first place and that we have a chance."
Flaherty goes deep: After Nolan Reimold put an end to Estrada's no-hit bid in the fifth, No. 9 hitter Flaherty belted his seventh home run of the season deep to right field to make it a 6-2 game. The ball left Flaherty's bat at 103 mph and traveled a projected 430 feet, according to Statcast™. Reimold added a solo shot in the ninth. More >
Tulo times it up: Tulowitzki made it 5-0 in the third with a sky-high fly ball to left that just made it over the wall for a two-run shot. It was Tulowitzki's 17th of the year and his fifth since joining the Blue Jays prior to the July 31st non-waiver Trade Deadline. According to Statcast™, the ball was projected to land 371 feet away and it left his bat at 103 mph, which gave it enough distance even though Tulowitzki got under the ball.
Pillar knocks Tillman from game: Tillman has fared poorly against the Blue Jays this season. The right-hander had another rough outing against his rivals from the AL East, allowing three runs in the first inning and two more in third before exiting the game on Pillar's homer. Tillman tossed three-plus innings while allowing six earned runs on eight hits. He has surrendered 31 earned runs in 18 innings against Toronto this season.
"It's a tough lineup. It's a lineup where you have to execute consistently," Tillman said. "I made two, three good pitches in a row, and then I made a mistake and they made me pay. It's a team that you have to have pretty good command to both sides with all your pitches."
"We ran into Price. Third in the AL in ERA. We ran into Estrada. Sixth in the AL in ERA. We ran into some good pitching." -- Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, on Baltimore's lack of offense the last two games
"To get to 10 home runs, a year ago I didn't think it was something I would be able to accomplish. It's kind of a personal goal I set for myself this year to get into double digits. It was fun." -- Pillar, on reaching 10 homers for the first time in his career
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Encarnacion has reached base in 36 consecutive games, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. Carlos Delgado owns the club record with a 38-game streak in 1998.
ON THIS DAY: RIPKEN SETS CONSECUTIVE GAMES MARK
On Sept. 6, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig's record. He went 2-for-4 and homered for the second game in a row as the Orioles beat the Angels, 4-2. When the game became official in the middle of the fifth inning, Ripken ran a lap around the field at Camden Yards to salute the fans.
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen will make the start on extra rest when the Orioles open a three-game series against the Yankees in New York on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Pushed back to avoid a lethal lefty-hitting Blue Jays lineup over the weekend, Chen will make his fourth start of the season against the Yankees. He's 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA against New York in 2015.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Mark Buehrle will take the mound when the Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Red Sox at 1:35 p.m. ET in a special matinee affair for Labor Day. Buehrle was originally scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Orioles, but his start was bumped back a couple of days to provide additional rest.
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