TORONTO — After picking up a much-needed road series win in Tampa, the Orioles kept the ball rolling by taking two of three from Toronto. Two good starts from Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez, combined with consistent offensive production, gave the O’s the edge in the division matchup.
Having the day off on Monday had to be extremely beneficial for the Orioles, particularly for the pitching staff, as they put together some of their best outings of the season. Kevin Gausman got it started on Tuesday surrendering just four hits through 5.1 innings.
Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day, and Brad Brach worked in relief and came very close to picking up a shutout. With two outs in the ninth inning on a two-strike count, Brach gave up a solo home run to Tory Tulowitzki, making it a 3-1 game. The homer may have broken up the shutout, but it didn’t rattle Brach as he quickly struck out the next batter to end the game.
In game two the roles were reversed. This time the Blue Jays found themselves on the side of an excellent pitching effort. Marcus Stroman struck out eight in 7.2 innings of work, while Jose Bautista and Justin Smoak provided the offense with a couple of home runs.
For Thursdays rubber match the Orioles sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. Many fans probably groaned at the thought of Jimenez pitching in a series-deciding game, but he surprised everyone when he took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
The O’s offense only scraped together two runs, but that was all that was necessary as Jimenez pitched his best game since facing the Reds earlier this season. The veteran pitcher ended up going eight innings while giving up just one hit on a fielder’s choice. Factor in his eight strikeouts and this might be the best start by an O’s pitcher all season.
Brach was summoned for the ninth inning and once again got the job done. The O’s closer worked himself into a tough situation after giving up a hit and bringing the tying run to the plate, but ultimately closed it out for his 15th save of the year
In other news, Welington Castillo was scratched from Thursdays game with a left knee sprain. On the MASN broadcast after the game, manager Buck Showalter said that the injury occurred when Castillo slipped on the dugout steps at the Rogers Centre.
Castillo has already spend two separate stints on the 10-day DL with back spasms and a groin injury. Showalter is hoping this injury is not serious enough to warrant putting Castillo back on the DL.
The division matchups don’t stop here as the Orioles prepare to return home this weekend for another series against the Rays. While the Birds have enjoyed some road success recently, they are always looking forward to playing at home. This upcoming series can propel the O’s up the division standings as long as they keep their hot streak going.
Image Credit: Toronto Star