TORONTO — A Randal Grichuk pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning was enough to save the Blue Jays from being red-faced for the second straight outing against the Baltimore Orioles.
Grichuk’s fly ball to centre scored Bo Bichette to give Toronto a 5-4 victory and avoid another loss to the Orioles before 14,262 at Rogers Centre on Wednesday.
The Orioles (41-91) have the worst record in Major League Baseball but managed to upend the Blue Jays (70-62) 4-2 on Tuesday.
Bichette led off the eighth inning with a fluky infield hit that got by Orioles reliever Dillon Tate (0-5). Teoscar Hernandez then was hit by a pitch and both runners moved up a base on Alejandro Kirk’s long fly ball to centre.
Toronto stopper Jordan Romano managed a stress-free 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 15th save. Tim Mayza (5-2) recorded the win.
Blue Jays infielder Marcus Semien spotted starter Steven Matz a 1-0 lead with a one-out homer to left field. The solo shot was Semien’s 33rd of the year, tying his career-high set in 2019 when he was with the Oakland Athletics.
But Matz suffered some control issues in the second inning. After Ramon Urias and Anthony Santander each singled, Matz walked Jahmal Jones and then, with the bases loaded, issued consecutive free passes to Cedric Mullins and rookie Ryan Mountcastle.
Matz threw 65 pitches through three innings but hung in there to complete five innings with 100 pitches. He gave up two runs on five hits, striking out five and walking four.
The Blue Jays provided Matz with a 4-2 lead with a three-run fourth inning, ending the evening for Baltimore starter Matt Harvey. Hernandez singled in Bichette. Corey Dickerson moved Hernandez to third with a single to right and then stole second. Both outfielders scored after Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s double to left.
The Orioles, however, pecked away with runs in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game. Austin Wynns singled in Jorge Mateo in the sixth. Trey Mancini doubled in Mountcastle an inning later.
George Springer was back in the Blue Jays lineup as a designated hitter in his customary lead-off spot. He returned on Monday after a two-week layoff because of a sprained left knee. But he was pulled in the seventh inning as a precautionary measure after he awkwardly rounded second base on Tuesday.
A one-out line-drive single from Springer kept a seventh-inning rally alive for Toronto. But with Gurriel on third and Springer on first, Orioles reliever Jorge Lopez struck out Semien and coaxed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. into a fly ball-out to right.
With rosters expanding from 26 to 28 on Sept. 1, the Blue Jays promoted right-handed pitchers Nate Pearson and Bryan Baker from Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday.
Pearson, 25, is one of the top prospects in the Toronto system. But he has dealt with nagging groin issues all season.
His last outing for the Blue Jays was as a starter on May 9 in Houston.