Oriole pitcher John Means’ season ended with a disappointing start. Means allowed seven runs, six earned, equaling his career high, in the Orioles’ 10-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
Means (6-9) gave up three home runs to the Blue Jays, who are in a four-team wild-card race. The New York Yankees, who lost to Tampa Bay, and the Boston Red Sox, who beat the Washington Nationals, are 91-70. Toronto is 90-71, as is Seattle, which defeated the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
The Blue Jays put Saturday’s game away quickly.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a two-run home run in the first, his 47th, and two batters later, Teoscar Hernández hit his 13th for a 3-0 lead.
After the Orioles scored in the top of the second on Ryan McKenna’s infield out that brought Trey Mancini in, George Springer hit a three-run home run, his 20th, to put Toronto up, 6-1.
“Meansy didn’t really have it today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He was dealing with an illness and it just felt like the fastball velocity wasn’t quite there. He just looked tired, to be honest with you. A lot of the changeups cut in the middle of the plate. He didn’t have the crispness to his breaking balls.
“They got on him right away. They hit him pretty hard. He just didn’t have the same zip to his fastball and changeup.”
Means, who has never complained about his lack of run support or the bullpen’s failure to hold leads, wouldn’t make an excuse about being ill.
“Maybe a little bit,” Means said. “I just wasn’t executing. It’s just a cold, so it’s not too bad. I just tried to give everything I had today, and it just wasn’t very much.”
Santiago Espinal’s RBI double in the third made it 7-1 and Means left after three. He gave up seven hits and struck out three. His ERA for 2021 is 3.62.
Alek Manoah (9-2) allowed only Mancini’s second-inning double, striking out 10 and walking one in seven innings.
“Manoah’s really good,” Hyde said. “He’s aggressive in the strike zone. He’s got great movement to his fastball. He’s got a good slider to go with it. We’re a majority right-handed. That’s a tough matchup for us. He came out with a purpose today, and he pitched outstanding.”
Bo Bichette hit his 29th home run, and Danny Jansen hit a two-run home run, his 11th, both against Konner Wade in the fifth for a 10-1 lead. Four of Jansen’s 11 home runs are against the Orioles.
Cedric Mullins, who was above .300 for most of the season, was hitless in four at-bats. He’s 0-for-12 and has a .291 average.
The Orioles (52-109) had just two hits, equaling their season low. Richie Martin had an eighth-inning single.
Means’ highlight of the season was his May 5th no-hitter against Seattle. Since then, he has lost eight of 10 decisions and missed six weeks because of shoulder fatigue.
“He gave us everything he had today,” Hyde said. “He really gave us everything he had all year. This is a small blip on Meansy’s season. I’m happy with his year. He’s still early in his career. Looking forward to his adjustments looking forward to spring training. Even though he didn’t have a good one today, he had a really nice year.”
Means will return to his Kansas home and begin working on next season.
“It’s hard for me to look back after this one and be satisfied,” he said. “I’m happy that I made it through. I’m really proud that I could make it through three years after the way I came up. To complete three years in the big leagues is something that was my goal from Day One.
“I look back, and I’m satisfied, but I have some things to work on in the offseason.”
Notes: The Orioles conclude the 2021 season on Sunday with Bruce Zimmermann (4-4, 4.66 ERA) facing Toronto’s Hyun Jin Ryu (13-10, 4.39). The game will begin at 3:07 p.m. … Austin Hays was hit by a pitch, extending his on-base streak to 19 games, longest in the majors.
Jon Heyman, of the MLB Network, had this tweet: This is the first time in the Wild Card era with 6 divisions that there’s a division with 4 90-game winners — Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays. The only other time it happened in the divisional era was 1978 — Yankees won 100 games, Boston 99, Brewers 93 and Orioles 90.
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