BALTIMORE — The Blue Jays kept rewriting their own record books on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, holding what amounted to a three-hour batting-practice session at Camden Yards for one of the biggest offensive games in franchise history.
The 22-7 win over the Orioles featured a 16-4 lead after just three innings, carrying over the momentum from two thrilling wins in Saturday’s doubleheader where the Blue Jays put up 11 runs in each. We’ve known all along that Toronto’s lineup was capable of being the best in baseball, but what it has done this weekend in Baltimore is the stuff of video games.
“I’ve never seen anything like that, these last three days,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “I’ve been in the game for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like that, back-to-back, to score that many runs. When you do what we did yesterday, you usually show up today and score four or five. But to score 22? That’s impressive.”
With 14 wins in their last 16 games, the Blue Jays (80-63) are now tied with the Red Sox (81-64), who lost Sunday, for the top AL Wild Card spot. The Yankees (79-64) lost to the Mets on Sunday night and are a game back while the Mariners (77-66) and A’s (77-66), still very much in this race, are now three games behind the Blue Jays.
This was a trademark run within a trademark run for the Blue Jays, who have become a pitcher’s nightmare and the last team anyone would want to face if the postseason started tomorrow. Toronto has positioned itself perfectly with three weeks left in the season, and with more momentum than we’ve seen this club have since the postseason runs in 2015 and ‘16, everything is rushing in its direction.
Now that the balls have stopped flying out of Camden Yards, here’s a look at what the Blue Jays accomplished over their 3-1 series win:
Tossing up 22
The 22 runs scored by Toronto were the second-most in club history, and for a while it looked like the all-time record of 24 was in sight. Back on June 26, 1978, the Blue Jays did all of their scoring from the second to fifth innings with nine, four, six and five runs, and it came against these same Orioles. John Mayberry hit Toronto’s only two home runs of the game back in ‘78, whereas the ‘21 Blue Jays hit five long balls, the most notable of which belonged to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — No. 44 on the year. That pulls Guerrero into a tie for the Major League home run lead with Shohei Ohtani, as Guerrero sets himself up for a run at the AL Triple Crown.
One wild inning
It all started on Saturday in Game 2 of Toronto’s doubleheader. Down 1-0 entering the seventh — and final — inning and being no-hit by the O’s Keegan Akin, the Blue Jays scored 11 runs on 11 hits in a single inning, one of the most dominant offensive explosions in club history. Those 11 runs and hits tied franchise records, while the four home runs in that inning set a new record for the Blue Jays. Coming just hours after an 11-10 comeback win on a George Springer home run, this capped one of the wildest days of the Blue Jays’ season.
Four frames of chaos
Between the seventh inning of Game 2 on Saturday night and the first three innings of Sunday’s win, the Blue Jays scored 27 runs, setting a new MLB record for runs scored across a four-inning span. The previous high of 25 had only been done three times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, most recently by the Rangers in 2007. Prior to that, it hadn’t happened in nearly a century, stretching back to the 1922 Cubs.
“It’s pretty indescribable,” said Steven Matz, who threw six innings of five-run ball. “With the four innings between the last inning [yesterday] and the first three today, with 27 runs, that speaks for itself. I don’t have much I can say about that. It’s insane.”
47 over four
With run totals of three, 11, 11 and 22, the Blue Jays set a new club record for the most runs scored in a four-game series with 47. Their previous high of 42 came back in 1978, also against the Orioles.
The Lourdes’ day
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is one of the hottest hitters in the Blue Jays’ lineup of late, and he put up the biggest game of his career on Sunday. Gurriel hit his fourth grand slam of the season, setting a new Blue Jays record, then later launched a two-run home run to left field that travelled a Statcast-projected 460 feet, flying all the way to the back section of seats in Camden Yards’ lower bowl. Add in three walks, including one with the bases loaded, and Gurriel finished the day with seven RBIs, a new career high.
Montoyo, as he often does, found a smaller moment of Gurriel’s day to highlight.
“Of everything he’s done, the most impressive thing was that walk with the bases loaded,” Montoyo said. “He had another chance to hit a grand slam but he didn’t chase. He said, ‘OK, they’re not going to throw me a strike, so I’ll take a walk.’”
The grand grand slam
Gurriel’s wasn’t even the only grand slam of the day. Teoscar Hernández launched a grand slam of his own in Toronto’s 10-run third inning, his 27th home run of the season. Now tied with Guerrero at 102 RBIs, Hernández has put together another massive season despite missing three weeks in April on the COVID-19-related IL.
Fun for everyone
All nine of Toronto’s starters reached base at least twice in Sunday’s win, the first time the Blue Jays have done that since a 19-4 win over the Rangers back on Aug. 12, 2019. Danny Jansen had four hits, including three doubles with four RBIs, while Randal Grichuk had three hits of his own, extending this nightmare of a lineup well beyond the top half.
Everything that left Toronto’s bats was hit hard. The club’s 14 balls that hit a 100-plus mph exit velocity were the fourth-most by a Blue Jays lineup since Statcast began tracking pitches and hits in 2015. Seven different Toronto batters had hits that topped 100 mph, including three from Jansen. Jake Lamb just missed making it 15 when he homered in the third inning, but that clocked in just shy at 99.4 mph.