The Toronto Blue Jays have a young, dynamic team that could make a playoff run in the next couple of years.
They provided a glimpse of that potential against the Baltimore Orioles.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit two of his team’s five home runs to back a solid pitching performance by fellow rookie Trent Thornton and the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 11-2 Thursday night.
“That guy’s pretty good. He’s driving in runs,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said about Guerrero. “They got a nice little core. They’re going to be fun players to watch here going forward, really athletic. They have a young core group of position players that are going to do damage.”
Randal Grichuk, Danny Jansen and Billy McKinney also had homered for the Blue Jays, who tied a season high with their fourth straight win. Guerrero’s homers included an impressive 450-foot shot off Dylan Tate in the eighth inning.
Toronto reinstated Thornton (4-7) from the 10-day injured list following a bout with elbow inflammation, and he allowed one run and five hits without a walk over six innings. His last two wins have come against the Orioles. Thornton threw six scoreless innings against them July 7.
“He wasn’t trying to strike people out tonight, just get people out, and he did a good job of it,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He got a lot of ground balls.”
Trey Mancini hit his 25th home run, a solo shot in the eighth off Toronto reliever Jason Adam, who was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day.
Guerrero gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead with a two-run shot in the third off Asher Wojciechowski (2-4). Guerrero is batting .416 (20 of 48) with five homers over his last 12 games.
The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half on two singles and a bunt. Thornton escaped with a pop out and double play. Toronto took a 3-0 lead on a two-out, RBI single by Bo Bichette.
“I wanted to stay ahead of the hitters and attack the strike zone,” Thornton said. “I felt I was able to do that. Got out of a big jam in third inning and that was big momentum for me.”
Grichuk hit a solo homer in the fifth that ended the night for Wojciechowski, who was dealing with a hip injury. The Orioles pulled within 4-1 later that inning on a fielder’s choice by Jonathan Villar.
“I just didn’t feel that great today,” Wojciechowski said. “The hip was a little sore. I’ve dealt with it in the past.”
Jansen hit a three-run shot and Guerrero picked up his third RBI with a double off Jimmy Yacabonis in the sixth.
ORIOLES STAY PAT
The rebuilding Orioles were expected to be active at the trade deadline. Instead, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias decided the best course of action was to keep the current roster intact, especially with key players under contract for next season.
“Our goal is to raise the talent level up and down the organization and that includes players who are on the major league team, and the trades that were available to us, I didn’t feel like they were going to do that,” Elias said. “I thought they might actually lower the talent level because these are guys we have under control.”
The Blue Jays added OF Derek Fisher to their major league roster. Fisher was acquired from the Houston Astros ahead of Wednesday’s trade deadline for right-handed starter Aaron Sanchez, right-handed reliever Joe Biagini and minor league outfielder Cal Stevenson.
Orioles: INF Jose Rondon was added to the 25-man roster after being claimed off waivers from the White Sox on Wednesday. He popped out as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
Blue Jays: Grichuk was hit by a foul ball in the sixth inning and went to a local hospital for x-rays.
Orioles: OF/DH Mark Trumbo is experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. He is hoping to return to the club in September when rosters expand.
Blue Jays: Montoyo hasn’t decided on a starter for the second game of the series, but he will likely go with an opener.
Orioles: RHP Aaron Brooks (2-4, 5.46 ERA) allowed five runs and seven hits over five innings in his last start against the Angels. He has a 7.07 ERA in four appearances for Baltimore.
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