The Toronto Blue Jays are glad to see sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion hitting well at the same time.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his fifth career grand slam, J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four runs and the Blue Jays beat Baltimore 12-6 on Thursday night, spoiling the debut of Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Toronto beat Tampa Bay Wednesday behind a two-homer, four RBI effort by Bautista.
”That’s what we’ve been looking for since the season started,” Encarnacion said of the production from he and Bautista. ”We’re getting hot, we’re starting to swing the way we can and whenever we swing like that we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Bautista, who walked twice and scored twice, has reached safely in 10 of his past 13 plate appearances.
”Our team is built around those guys,” manager John Gibbons said.
Along with Arencibia, they’re the only trio of teammates in the majors with at least 11 home runs each.
Brandon Morrow (2-3) allowed six runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven-plus innings. He walked one and struck out five, leaving after giving up consecutive homers to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.
”It’s frustrating for me to go out give up the two home runs without getting an out there in the eighth,” Morrow said. ”It’s a good win, but it put a sour taste in my mouth.”
Brett Cecil and Brad Lincoln each worked one inning of scoreless relief as Toronto won for the third time in four games.
The fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Gausman allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out five.
”Definitely a learning experience for me but it was awesome,” Gausman said. ”It was everything I could have imagined and more.
The youngest starter in the AL at 22 years and 137 days, Gausman showed some veteran composure in the third, loading the bases with none out before retiring the next three batters.
”His changeup was a big pitch for him tonight and he was able to use it in some key situations,” catcher Matt Wieters said. ”The slider was there if we needed it, too.”
Even Gibbons was impressed.
”He’s got a great arm,” Gibbons said of Gausman. ”He pitched with good composure. He looks like he belongs out there. For a debut he did a heck of a job.”
Gausman (0-1) is the 11th pitcher to start for Baltimore this year. The Orioles used 12 starters all of last season.
Five of the eight walks issued by Baltimore pitchers came around to score.
”You like your chances when you score six but not when you walk that many people,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit his major league leading 15th home run, a leadoff shot in the fourth but it wasn’t enough for the Orioles, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Baltimore’s Manny Machado went 3 for 4 with three doubles, boosting his major league-leading total to 21.
Machado gave the Orioles an early lead with a two-run double in the third. Davis made it 3-0 by homering on Morrow’s first pitch of the fourth, but the Blue Jays rallied with two runs off Gausman in the bottom half. Adam Lind and Arencibia led off with consecutive doubles and Emilio Bonifacio hit a sacrifice fly.
Arencibia put the Blue Jays in front with a two-out, first pitch drive in the fifth, his 11th homer.
Troy Patton was replaced after issuing back-to-back two-out walks in the sixth. Pedro Strop came on and walked Bautista before Encarnacion homered off the left field foul screen for Toronto’s first grand slam this season.
After Alexi Casilla hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh, Markakis hit his fifth home run in the eighth and Jones followed with his seventh. It’s the third time this season the Orioles have hit consecutive homers.
Toronto put it away with four runs off T.J. McFarland in a bat-around eighth. Anthony Gose scored from second on a passed ball after Wieters threw to second, Arencibia hit an RBI grounder, Brett Lawrie singled home a run and Rasmus hit a sacrifice fly.
Left fielder Nate McLouth tumbled into the stands after running into the wall in foul territory while retiring Rasmus for the first out of the sixth. Fans tried to indicate that McLouth had dropped the ball, but third base umpire Manny Gonzalez ruled it an out. After the play, a fan in the second deck threw a drink at McLouth, bringing Orioles manager Buck Showalter out for a discussion with the umpires.
Both Showalter and McLouth downplayed the incident.
”It just kind of startled me for a second,” McLouth said. ”I’m not really sure how close it landed. That’s just one person doing something they shouldn’t do.”
NOTES:The Blue Jays are 15-0 when scoring five runs or more. … Toronto will promote LHP Sean Nolin from Double-A to make his major league debut Friday against the Orioles. RHP Chad Jenkins will start Sunday. … A moment of silence was held before the game in memory of scout Epy Guerrero, who died Thursday at 71. … Former Blue Jays infielder Homer Bush threw out the first pitch. … Gibbons said LHP Darren Oliver has been unavailable the past few games because of a sore shoulder.