BALTMORE—In Brandon Hyde’s first four seasons as Orioles manager, the Toronto Blue Jays dominated his teams. The Orioles were just 24-43 against Toronto.
This year, it’s been different. They’ve won five of six games against the Blue Jays, and after their 4-2 win on Thursday before an announced crowd of 22,555 at Camden Yards, the second-place Orioles are six games ahead of fourth-place Toronto.
Last month, the Orioles swept three games at Rogers Centre, their first sweep since April 2005.
After splitting the first two games of the series, Oriole starter Tyler Wells allowed two home runs to Danny Jansen in 6 2/3 innings. Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista combined to record the final seven outs.
Wells (6-2) allowed the two runs and five hits, striking out eight and walking one.
The Orioles are 18 games over.500 for the second time this season. They won’t face Toronto again until July 31st.
“We have better pitching than we have in the past,” Hyde said. “We’re pitching extremely well, and we have a chance every night with five starters.
“Our bullpen has been one of the best in baseball. Those two guys [Cano and Bautista] who pitched the two-plus innings out of the ‘pen, they’ve been great for us. I think on the mound, we can compete with them a little better than we have in the past.”
Gunnar Henderson’s RBI single in the first scored Anthony Santander for a 1-0 lead. Jansen’s homers in the third and fifth gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.
“Other than that, I’m pretty happy about it,” Wells said of his performance. He’s allowed 16 home runs in 81 2/3 innings.
“If you look at a lot of my home runs, it’s been mistake pitches down the middle,” Wells said. “Danny got me on two of them today.”
Adley Rutschman led off the fifth with his ninth home run to tie the score. In the sixth, Austin Hays, Rustchman and Santander singled with two outs. Santander’s scorcher rocketed off Vladimir Guerrero’s glove at first to score Hays for a 3-2 lead.
Hyde didn’t want Wells to face Jansen for a third time, and called for Cano.
Jansen singled with two outs, and Cano walked Cavan Biggio before George Springer flied to right.
In the eighth, Daulton Varsho and Guerrero singled with one out, and Cano struck out Whit Merrifield looking and Bautista came in and caught Matt Chapman looking.
Hays hit a 439-foot homer, his eighth, in the eighth for an important tack-on run. It was the second farthest of his career. He’s hit nine home runs in 51 games against Toronto.
“We’ve done a decent job of hitting against them over the years,” Hays said. “They have a really powerful lineup that there’s not really a whole lot of holes in it, and they’ve been able to outscore us quite a bit.
“Our pitching has been the difference. The starters and our bullpen have just been doing a really good job of keeping the game close and then letting our offense score runs later in the game.”
Bautista recorded his 18th save with a perfect ninth.
Instead of 76 games against AL East teams, the Orioles now play 52. In their first 21, they’re 13-8. Their next intradivision opponent isn’t until July 3rd when they play the New York Yankees. They have seven left with the Blue Jays.
“The big difference has honestly been confidence,” Wells said. “I think you look at the Blue Jays, you’re seeing those guys grow as young stars … As those guys have gotten older, they’ve gotten better.
“You’re starting to see a lot of us young guys step into those roles. We’re excited about it. We’re excited to go out there and face the very best. They’ve been a great team this year. They’ve got a really good lineup. I think they’re going to be good for a long time. We’re going to be just as good—if not better—for a long time.”
Notes: Hyde said that relief pitcher Mychal Givens, who threw an inning in his rehab outing at Bowie on Wednesday night, felt healthy and he’s scheduled to pitch at Triple-A Norfolk on Friday night. Givens is on the injured list because of right shoulder inflammation. … The Orioles play three day games against the Chicago Cubs this weekend. Cole Irvin (1-2, 7.85) will start on Friday at 2:20 p.m. The Cubs haven’t announced their starters. Hyde said the Orioles will take batting practice on Friday, the second of their four straight day games. Sunday’s game will be available only on Peacock. … Jorge Mateo stole two bases. He has 20 steals. … Aaron Hicks didn’t reach base. He had reached in his first 12 games with the Orioles.
Voth update: Pitcher Austin Voth was placed on the 15-day injured list because of right elbow discomfort.
“It’s something I’ve been dealing with off and on,” Voth said. “Been managing it. Been on anti-inflammatories three times this season, once in spring training, once at the start of the season, the first month of the season and then now.
“The only thing was I was throwing through the entire inflammatories. I never actually got shut down from throwing in spring training or the first month of the season. The inflammatories seem to help, but it just kind of lingered. I’ll be shut down from throwing for a certain amount of time, build back up. Hopefully, that will knock It out.”
Hyde said he had a low level of concern about Voth.
“I think I need like a good week off from throwing,” Voth said. “Hopefully, what I’m taking and then the treatment that I’m receiving will completely fix my issue.”
Minor league update: Grayson Rodriguez allowed two runs on two hits in six innings in Norfolk’s 3-2 win over Worcester. Rodriguez (2-0) struck out 11 and walked two.
Dillon Tate pitched a hitless 1 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out two. Tate is rehabbing from an elbow injury.
Leftfielder Heston Kjerstad hit his second home run and third baseman Robbie Glendinning hit his fourth.
Warming pitchers up: In both Tuesday and Wednesday night’s game, Hyde had Bautista warm up but didn’t pitch in the game. Hyde said he keeps stats on warmups.
“The game situation dictates that a lot of times,” Hyde said. “The game situation dictates … that you try to stay away from getting a guy up and not getting him in the game. I try my best to not have a guy get up and not get into the game. The situation changes in the game. The score changes quickly. Those things happen.”
Hyde said that because of the pitch clock he now warms up pitchers a batter earlier than he used to.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions in the next few days. Please email yours to: [email protected].