BALTIMORE — — Brandon Hyde handled it like he was in an elimination game, and Baltimore held on for a big win over Toronto.
In the process, this race between the Orioles and Blue Jays turned testy.
Adley Rutschman doubled with the bases loaded during a five-run third inning, and the Orioles bounced back with a 9-6 win over Toronto on Tuesday night in a heated game in which both benches briefly cleared at the same time. half of the seventh.
The Orioles closed within 3 1/2 games of Toronto for the final AL wild card. They were swept by the Blue Jays in a doubleheader on Monday that opened this crucial series. The next night, Hyde used three of his best relievers, Dillon Tate (4-3), Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista, for a combined five innings.
“I thought we needed to win the game,” Hyde said. “I was trying to do everything I could to try and win the game.”
The Orioles trailed 3-0 before rallying to snap Toronto’s five-game winning streak. Four Baltimore relievers combined to pitch six innings, with Bautista getting the final six outs for his 12th save.
Bo Bichette homered again for Toronto, his fourth in the past two games, but Mitch White (0-4) couldn’t get out of a wild third inning in which he walked three and hit a batter.
In the seventh, former Blue Jay Bryan Baker came on for the Orioles and gave up a run that cut Baltimore’s lead to 6-5. Then tempers flared when Baker appeared to make a “squeak” hand signal toward the Toronto dugout after striking out Matt Chapman for the third out. Benches and bullpens emptied, though order was quickly restored.
“I didn’t understand why Bryan Baker was looking into our dugout after giving up a run on back-to-back days,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said.
The Orioles offense broke through in the third. They loaded the bases with no outs when White walked twice and hit Cedric Mullins. Rutschman’s two-run double made it 3-2, and then Anthony Santander tied it on an RBI groundout.
Ryan Mountcastle singled in a run and White was eliminated after another walk. Gunnar Henderson followed with an RBI single to make it 5-3.
Kyle Bradish, coming off consecutive scoreless starts against Houston and Cleveland, lasted just over three innings before Hyde went to his bullpen.
Tate came in with men on first and third and no one out on fourth. He escaped that jam, but gave up an RBI double to Chapman in the fifth. Then Perez came on and went 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
Baltimore added a big run in the sixth when Jorge Mateo hit a two-out triple and Mullins drove in with a single.
Baker allowed Toronto’s first two batters to reach base in the seventh inning, but with men on first and third, Teoscar Hernandez, who had homered off Baker in Monday’s opener, rebounded into a double play. A run scored on that play to make it 6-5, but left the bases empty.
“When I hit the ground ball, he looks at me and goes, ‘Yeah, yeah,’” Hernandez said. “And then he strikes out Chapman. As soon as he does, he turns to our dugout and starts talking and pointing at me, and saying he was talking too much. But he wasn’t talking. He wasn’t saying anything.” .”
Baker saw it differently, although he said he probably should have handled the situation better.
“It was nothing towards his team or anything. It was like letting him know that I know he’s talking,” Baker said. “There really is no problem with the team or anything like that. I don’t think there’s bad blood or anything like that. He was just letting her know that really.”
Schneider was ejected in the bottom of the inning, said afterward that he had questioned the strike zone, and came out to harass home plate umpire Jeff Nelson.
Trevor Richards allowed a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth as the Orioles came back to win by two, and then Mountcastle singled for two more runs. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel’s throw to the plate came in plenty of time for Rutschman to get on that play, but the tag came a bit late and he was ruled safe on review to make the score 9-5.
Bichette had four hits, including a two-run homer in the third that made it 3-0. Chapman had an RBI single on the first.
The start of the game was delayed 17 minutes due to rain.
Schneider’s ejection occurred shortly after the bench-clearing incident, but it seemed to be more about balls and strikes. The Blue Jays have a history with Nelson, who ejected then-manager Charlie Montoyo from an April game after Montoyo took issue with his strike zone.
Orioles: Hyde said RHP Jordan Lyles was doing better but still feeling bad. Lyles was scratched from the start of Monday’s doubleheader and is day by day. Baltimore doesn’t have him on the list of potential starters this weekend.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
This series concludes on Wednesday night with Toronto’s Alek Manoah (13-7) facing Baltimore’s Dean Kremer (6-4). These teams still have seven games left against each other, including that one.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister