Blue Jays try to sweep Orioles, stay alive in wild-card race

National Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays will be out to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon that would keep their wild-card hopes alive.

The Blue Jays (90-71) posted a 10-1 win on Saturday and established a club record for home runs in a season. They hit five home runs Saturday and have a majors-best 258 for the season, surpassing the 257 they hit in 2010.

Toronto is tied with the Seattle Mariners, one game behind the American League wild card-leading Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

The Orioles (52-109) had two hits and a walk on Saturday against Alek Manoah (seven innings) and Ross Stripling (two innings). Manoah also hit a batter in his one-hit,10-strikeout outing.

“The level of confidence that we’re playing with right now is amazing,” Manoah said. “Everything is kind of clicking, our bullpen, our starters, our offense.”

The games have been played in a playoff atmosphere, and that is something that the Orioles feel will benefit them in the future.

“It’s a really positive environment for us to play in,” Orioles outfielder Austin Hays said. “The goal is for us in the next couple of years to be on the other side of this and be in the situation those guys over there are in right now.

Hays was 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch on Saturday. He has reached base safely in 19 straight games. He had two hits and threw a runner out at home on Friday in the Blue Jays’ 6-4 victory.

“We’re trying to continue to play the game hard and play the game the right way and treat every game like it matters and just keep battling like we tried to battle our way back into that game (Friday),” Hays said.

“We had a chance.”

“This is what it’s about,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Our guys haven’t had a whole lot of experience in this type of environment. It’s loud in here. The fans are into it. We’re getting booed a little bit. This is what makes Major League Baseball fun, playing the games that matter in hostile environments on the road, playing against teams, must-win type of games. This is what competitors live for. It’s a lot of fun. I’m happy our guys got to experience it.”

The Blue Jays will start left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (13-10, 4.39 ERA) on Sunday. He has faced Baltimore five times this year, going 3-1 with a 5.40 ERA. He is 4-1 with a 4.43 ERA in eight career starts against the Orioles.

In four starts in September, Ryu was 1-2 with a 9.20 ERA. In his last appearance against the Orioles, he allowed seven runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings on Sept. 11.

The Orioles will start left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (4-4, 4.66), who will be facing the Blue Jays for the first time in his career.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 47th home run of the season, a mammoth two-run blast, in the first inning Saturday. He tied Eddie Mathews (1953) for most home runs in a season by a player 22 or younger. He has hit 11 homers against the Orioles.

Guerrero was hobbling slightly after his sixth-inning double, but stayed in the game. He eventually came out in the ninth. He will be available to play Sunday.

“He said he rolled his ankle a little bit, so he felt uncomfortable,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He was fine after that.”

–Field Level Media

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