Blue Jays slowed by O's in home-field chase
BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs as the Orioles dealt a slight blow to the Blue Jays' chances of securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason with a 6-4 victory on a rainy Thursday at Oriole Park.
Toronto's lead over the Royals for the best record in the American League disappeared with the Royals' 6-4 victory on Thursday night. Although the teams are tied, the Blue Jays, who clinched the AL East on Wednesday, own the tiebreaker between the two teams because of a better head-to-head record.
The team that finishes with the best record will face the winner of Tuesday's Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser. The second-place team will get the winner of the AL West. Toronto previously secured home-field advantage in the AL Division Series, which is scheduled to start next Thursday.
Thursday's game was delayed at the end of the first inning for three hours and 25 minutes because of rain. Play resumed at 4:10 p.m. ET, but by then both starters had to be removed from the game because of the long layoff. Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison allowed three runs in his lone inning of work, while O's righty Tyler Wilson pitched a scoreless frame.
"You think about the time spent here the last two days. I'm real proud of them after that first game [Wednesday], the way they came back and responded," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Obviously Manny, he was the difference-maker today on both sides of the ball."
The Blue Jays went with their "B" lineup for the second consecutive game as the club opted to rest its regulars. All nine starting position players received the day off after Toronto celebrated clinching the division title the night before. Left-hander David Price previously was scheduled to pitch Thursday, but he also received the day off and won't start again until Game 1 of the ALDS. He will instead get his work in with bullpen sessions.
"We want to win home field, but we had a doubleheader yesterday and they've been going hard all year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They clinched in the first game, it made perfect sense not to play in the doubleheader after you clinch. Instead of coming back and playing the early game today, it would have been like no day off at all for them.
"My job is taking care of these guys, make sure they're ready when it comes, not what other people think."
In addition to Machado's home runs, Baltimore also received an RBI double by Steve Pearce and RBI singles from Nolan Reimold and Paul Janish. Rookie outfielder Dalton Pompey led the way for Toronto with three hits, while Ezequiel Carrera added an RBI double.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hutch struggles early: Hutchison made his spot start under less than ideal circumstances as the rain was pouring down and he noticeably had difficulty gripping the baseball. His outing was cut short after one inning because of the weather, but by then the damage had already been done. Hutchison faced nine batters in the first, surrendered four hits, walked one and hit another. The big blow came on a two-run blast by Machado, while Pearce also added an RBI double.
Manny makes history: Machado's pair of stolen bases in the bottom of the fourth inning gave him the seventh season in Orioles history with 20 stolen bases and 20 home runs. He's also just the second Orioles player to have 30 homers and 20 stolen bases in one season. More >
"I was just trying to get it over with," Machado said of his 20th stolen base. "Not too worried about it. Basically go out there and put myself in a good scoring position and get it out of the way. I thought those were two perfect situations to go and do it and really take advantage of the situation."
Signs of life: The Blue Jays entered the seventh inning trailing 6-1, but they pieced together a rally to climb back into the game. Munenori Kawasaki got things started with a leadoff walk and scored on a single by Jonathan Diaz. Pompey and Carrera followed with doubles as Toronto pulled within two runs, but that was as close as the club would get.
"We've been playing the regulars for quite a while trying to win this thing, and they got a chance the last two days and that's good for them. They needed that and some of them performed very well. We didn't pitch particularly well, but it's good to see. You come to the big leagues, you're not a regular yet, you're dying to get in there and they handled themselves well." -- Gibbons, on starting his part-time players and September callups
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Pompey has had three games with three hits in his career and all of them have happened against the Orioles. He previously did it on Sept. 26, 2014, and April 21, 2015.
SCHOOP DOESN'T RETURN
Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop was hit in the right hand by a pitch in the first inning and did not return following the lengthy delay. Schoop was ruled to have a contusion and was replaced by Janish. An X-ray done after the game came back negative and he's considered day to day.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Mark Buehrle (14-7, 3.76 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays open their final series of the regular season on Friday in St. Petersburg against the Rays at 7:10 p.m. ET. Buehrle is 8 2/3 innings shy of reaching 200 innings for the 15th consecutive year in his career. The only pitchers to accomplish that are Warren Spahn, Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton.
Orioles: Baltimore will host the Yankees in a three-game set to conclude its season starting on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen (10-8, 3.35 ERA) will take the mound for the O's. Chen's ERA is a career best, and his 150 strikeouts are four shy of his career high, achieved in 2012. He will be a free agent for the first time in his career this offseason.
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