Orioles complete first sweep of Blue Jays in Toronto since 2005 with 8-3 win in 11 innings

TORONTO — As the road team in extra innings, scoring one run is often not enough. Saturday’s win was the exception thanks to the heroics of Félix Bautista.

Playing in extras again Sunday, the Orioles in the 10th scored just one — the automatic runner placed at second — and the Toronto Blue Jays did the same. Terrin Vavra wouldn’t let that happen again.

After Austin Hays’ RBI single gave Baltimore another one-run lead, Brandon Hyde called on Vavra to pinch-hit, and he rewarded his manager with a two-run single amid the Orioles’ five-run 11th inning to beat the Blue Jays, 8-3.

Vavra jumped on the first pitch he saw from Yimi García and lined the 95 mph fastball to center field to score Adam Frazier and Hays. Cedric Mullins, whose RBI single in the 10th was the reason the Orioles had another chance in the 11th, then put a cherry on top of the win with a two-run double to right-center field to score Vavra and Gunnar Henderson. Mullins went 5-for-6 with three RBIs.

The sweep is Baltimore’s first over the Blue Jays in a three-game series since 2018. The last time the Orioles (31-16) swept Toronto at Rogers Centre was in 2005.

Both of Toronto’s runs before extras came off the bat of third baseman Matt Chapman. In the second inning, he homered off starting pitcher Dean Kremer, hammering a sinker that caught too much of the plate 420 feet to left-center field. He then tied the game in the seventh on a sacrifice fly off reliever Mychal Givens, who was making his season debut out of the Orioles’ bullpen after returning from the injured list.

After Chapman’s solo shot, the Orioles responded with two runs of their own in the third. Shortstop Joey Ortiz doubled off Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a single from Mullins, who promptly stole second for his 13th swipe of the season. Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander, the Orioles’ Nos. 2 and 3 hitters, both hit ground balls to bring home a run. Rutschman was robbed of a base hit by second baseman Whit Merrifield, while Santander reached on a fielder’s choice after first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. unadvisedly tried to nab Mullins at home rather than take the easy out at first.

Aside from those instances, both lineups struggled, though Kremer was in trouble in almost every inning of his 5 1/3 frames. Meanwhile, Gausman, a first-round pick by Baltimore in 2012 and a member of the Orioles’ pitching staff from 2013 to 2018, was superb. The right-hander scattered six hits and two walks across eight innings of two-run ball.

Kremer’s had an odd 2023 season thus far — entering Sunday with a 5-1 record but a 4.94 ERA — but Sunday’s start might have been his strangest. The right-hander allowed nine hits and two walks, but he gave up just one run and struck out seven. The Blue Jays had a runner in scoring position with fewer than two outs in five of the six innings he pitched in, but none scored.

Around the horn

— The Orioles travel to New York to take on the Yankees for a three-game series that begins Tuesday. Kyle Bradish, Tyler Wells and Kyle Gibson will start for Baltimore against Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Clarke Schmidt.

— Baltimore will soon have a decision to make on reliever Dillon Tate, whose minor league rehabilitation assignment cannot extend past Wednesday because of a 30-day limit. The right-hander has pitched nine times during his stint that began April 25, allowing 14 runs (12 earned) in 7 2/3 innings between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. Tate is rehabbing a right forearm strain that he sustained in the offseason.