BALTIMORE (AP) — Randal Grichuk is hitting all types of pitches to just about every part of the ballpark — and often into the seats.
His recent power surge has made quite an impression on his Toronto teammates, and left the Baltimore Orioles glad to finally see the slugger get out of town.
Grichuk hit two home runs, and the Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the fading Orioles with a 5-2 victory Wednesday.
Grichuk launched a solo shot to center in the second inning and put Toronto ahead for good with a two-run drive to left in the sixth. He has homered in four straight starts, and all six of his long balls this season have come over the last six games.
“He’s hitting every pitch, if it’s soft or hard,” Toronto infielder Brandon Drury said. “He looks really good up there. It’s been fun to watch, for sure.”
In his last at-bat in the eighth, Grichuk hit a liner to left that was caught at the warning track. Regardless, he’s batting .424 during an eight-game hitting streak that’s featured six multi-hit games.
His surge coincides with power-hitting shortstop Bo Bichette going on the injured list with a knee sprain.
“We needed somebody to pick up the slack for Bo, and that’s what (Grichuk) is doing,” manager Charlie Montoyo said.
With Grichuk leading the way, Toronto climbed within a game of .500 (10-11) for the first time since Aug. 5.
Baltimore has lost four in a row and five of six following a six-game winning streak. Tommy Milone (1-3) pitched well over six innings — except for the two homers he yielded to Grichuk.
“He was on some kind of fire against us. He’s just hot,” Milone said. “Today he hit a couple of mistakes I left out over the plate. When someone’s hot like that and they’re hitting a bunch of homers, that’s what’s going to happen. That’s what he did.”
Tanner Roark (2-1) gave up one earned run in five innings and Rafael Dolis worked the ninth for his first save.
Baltimore went ahead 2-1 in the fourth. Hanser Alberto hit a leadoff double and scored when right fielder Teoscar Hernández misplayed a single. Hernández made amends later in the inning by throwing out Pat Valaika, who was trying to score on a flyball by Chance Sisco.
Grichuk erased the deficit for Toronto in the sixth after Travis Shaw singled.
“He keeps hitting the ball on the barrel, the barrel on the ball,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re just having a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark on him. I thought we made some decent pitches.”
Blue Jays: Highly touted pitching prospect Nate Pearson was placed on the 10-day injured list with elbow tightness. The rookie complained of soreness after his outing Tuesday night. Montoyo said the right-hander was feeling better on Wednesday, but the Jays weren’t going to take any chances with the 2017 first-round pick. … 1B Rowdy Tellez missed a second straight game with a head injury but should be ready to play Thursday, Montoyo said.
Orioles: OF Austin Hays (ribs) is “progressing,” Hyde said, but the only treatment at this time is rest. … With José Iglesias on the IR with a strained left quad, the Orioles lose more than a solid bat and shortstop. “Iggy is a major voice in our clubhouse and helpful to the young guys,” Hyde said.
Blue Jays: The quirky schedule takes the Blue Jays to Philadelphia for a doubleheader Thursday before they head to Florida for a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Orioles: RH Asher Wojciechowski (1-2, 4.34) helps Baltimore open a four-game series Thursday night against the visiting, last-place Boston Red Sox.
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