Walker sharp in Blue Jays debut, a 5-0 win over Orioles
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Taijuan Walker pitched six shutout innings in his Toronto debut and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio each hit two-run singles as the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 on Saturday night.
Walker (3-2), acquired from the Seattle Mariners in a trade two days earlier, allowed four hits and three walks and struck out four.
Walker pitched for the first time since learning that his father and siblings, who live in Lake Charles, Louisiana, lost their property and belongings in Hurricane Laura.
“It's definitely been an emotional couple of days," Walker said. ”Hopefully I was able to bring a little bit of joy to them. It's a tough time for everyone right now, and especially down in Louisiana."
Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo marveled at the newest member of his starting rotation.
“He wants to show what he can do,” Montoyo said. “When somebody's having trouble and going through problems, it's good to play and forget about that for a minute.”
Along with personal circumstances, Walker also had the added pressure of showing his new team what he was capable of.
“It's still baseball,” Walker said. “I wanted to keep my same game plan, the same mentality I've had all year. We have a really good group of guys. I had to learn all new names, and it kind of felt like the first day of school again.”
Relievers Ryan Borucki, A.J. Cole and Wilmer Font each worked an inning to preserve Toronto’s first shutout since last Sept. 11 against Boston. The Blue Jays improved to 5-0 against the Orioles this season.
Guerrero singled off the left-field wall in the first inning to drive in two runs and Biggio's soft single made it 5-0 in the fourth. Toronto won its third straight game.
Anthony Santander and José Iglesias each had two hits for Baltimore, which was held to five hits in losing its fourth straight.
“Today was the first time we looked like a tired team,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think we’re physically tired and we’re emotionally tired. Tonight was the first time our bats looked slow to me. We showed more frustration offensively. It just wasn’t happening tonight.”
Alex Cobb (1-3) allowed eight hits and two walks over four-plus innings.
“Once you get on a losing streak it weighs on your more,” Cobb said. “It definitely doesn’t feel like 30 games into the season and we’re fresh and good. It feels like we’re on Game 230 right now.”
Guerrero extended his hit streak to a career-best 11 games, while Teoscar Hernández matched his career-high 10-game hit streak.
Biggio reached base for a 21st straight game, tying Justin Turner for the longest streak in the MLB this season.
The Orioles and Blue Jays elected to wear their No. 42 jerseys for the rest of the weekend.
All big league teams wore the No. 42 on Friday night as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.
“We were given the option this morning and as a club we’re going to wear the No. 42 jerseys for the next couple days,” Hyde said.
Orioles: RH reliever Shawn Armstrong was placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Aug. 26) with a lower back soreness. RH Evan Phillips was recalled to take his place. ... Hyde said Iglesias felt no lingering pain following his start Friday night at DH, his first action since a stint on the IL with a left quad injury. Iglesias started Saturday at SS. ... RH reliever Hunter Harvey (shoulder) should be activated from the IL on Sunday or Monday, Hyde said.
Blue Jays: RHP Jordan Romano (middle finger sprain), who exited Friday’s game after feeling numbness, underwent an MRI and was placed on the 10-day IL. RHP Sean Reid-Foley was called up. ... Montoyo said RHP Nate Pearson (elbow tightness) played catch from 90 feet, a quick progression from the 60-foot distance he threw from on Friday. ... Closer Ken Giles (forearm strain) is scheduled to throw live BP on Tuesday. ... SS Bo Bichette (knee sprain) continued to swing off a tee and also play catch. RHP Matt Shoemaker (shoulder inflammation) will begin a throwing progression on Sunday.
Orioles: RHP Jorge López (0-0, 8.38 ERA) gets his first start with the Orioles on Sunday. Lopez has pitched in three games out of the bullpen for Baltimore since being signed off waivers from Kansas City earlier this month.
Blue Jays: RHP Tanner Roark (2-1, 4.91 ERA) will start Sunday in the third game of a four-game series against Baltimore.
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