TORONTO – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 47th home run and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-1 on Saturday to chase down their AL wild-card on the final day of the regular season.
The Blue Jays launched five homers, while Alec Manoah allowed one hit in seven innings, helping Toronto to close within a game of wild card co-leaders Boston and the New York Yankees.
“It’s October baseball and we’re trying to make a push,” Manoh said. “We’re only focused on controlling what we can control.”
Toronto tied with Seattle after the Mariners rallied to defeat the Angels 6-4 later on Saturday. Both teams need a win and a defeat by the Red Sox or Yankees on Sunday to force one of several tiebreaker scenarios on Monday.
The Blue Jays are 2-0 to start in October after going 20-9 in September.
“The confidence with which we are playing right now is amazing,” Manoah said. “Everything is like clicking, our bullpen, our start, our offense.”
George Springer, Teoskar Hernandez, Bo Bichette and Danny Jensen all went deep for Toronto. The Blue Jays led the majors with a franchise-record 258 home runs, 257 runs they scored in 2010.
Baltimore has allowed a major league-leading 254 home runs.
Guerrero smiled after an awkward move in the sixth inning scoring first base on the double. He was checked by the coaches but he remained in the game.
“He said he twisted his ankle a bit, so he felt uncomfortable,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “He was fine after that.”
Guerrero dropped out to finish in eighth place and was replaced at first base in ninth by Cavan Biggio.
Trey Mancini doubled to start second and scored on Ryan McKenna’s RBI groundout, but it was all for the Orioles against Manoa. Nick Ciuffo walked to start third and Manoah hit Austin Hays to open fourth, but none of the runners advanced.
Manoah (9-2) faced the last 12 batsmen and dismissed 10. The rookie has a 1.69 ERA in winning his last four starts—his streak includes two wins over Tampa Bay, the AL’s best team.
Springer had four hits and scored twice. Santiago Espinal had three hits and an RBI as Toronto collected 14 hits, the 71st time this season they had 10 or more.
With a 450-foot drive from John Means (6-9) in the first, Guerrero closed within one of Kansas City’s Salvador Pérez for the major league lead.
“They gave me the pitch I was looking for, which I was working on at BP, and I took advantage of that,” Guerrero said through a translator.
Hernandez hit a single shot on Means in the first, his 32nd, and Springer hit a three-run homer for Means in the second, his 20th. Springer is among seven Toronto players who have scored 20 or more home runs this season, including Guerrero, Hernandez, Marcus Semien, Bichette, Randall Grichuk and Lourdes Guriel Jr.
Toronto also had seven players with 20 or more hits in 2000 and 2010.
Bichette hit the first pitch homer on Conner Wade’s fifth, his 29th, and Jensen added a two-run drive later in the innings, his 11th.
Toronto became the fourth AL East team to reach 90 victories, the first since the three-division game began in 1994 with four 90-win teams. This is only the second that this has happened since division play began in 1969—the 1978 AL East also had four 90-win teams, along with New York, Boston, Milwaukee, and Baltimore.
“It’s impressive, man,” Montoyo said. “This team deserves a lot of credit, and we’re going to go up to 162. I’m so proud of these guys.”
Means conceded seven runs and seven hits in three innings.
“He’s dealing with a minor illness and it felt like fastball velocity wasn’t enough,” Hyde said. “He just looked tired, to be honest with you.”
Baltimore lost 10 of the last 11 of the Means.
The Blue Jays won 90 games for the seventh time in their history and for the first time since 2015.
The game was delayed several minutes after home plate umpire Chris Guccione left the field to seek medical help after the top of the third inning. Guccione was eventually replaced by second base umpire Chris Conroy. Crew chief Mark Wegner remained at first base with Alan Porter in third.
Gurreel (right hand) returned to the lineup in DH after sitting out the last two games. Gurrell needed stitches to close a cut on his arm after he was spiked by Grichuk in a play in the outfield on 23 September.
Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (13-10, 4.39) will face Orioles LHP Bruce Zimmerman (4-4, 4.66) in Sunday’s series finale. Ryu is 3-1 against Baltimore this season with a 5.40 ERA in five.
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