Bichette hits 3 homers, Jays sweep Orioles in doubleheader

By Patrick Stevens

BALTIMORE (AP) – Bo Bichette hit a career-high three home runs in the second game of a doubleheader, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 Monday night to complete a sweep and widen their lead in the AL wild-card race.

Bichette hit a three-run homer off Nick Vespi in the third inning, then added solo drives in the sixth and seventh off Bruce Zimmermann. The shortstop had six hits and seven RBIs during the doubleheader, is hitting .400 (24 for 60) over his last 15 games and has 21 home runs this season.

Bichette lined to center in the ninth when he came up with a chance to tie the major league record of four home runs in a game. He matched a career high with five RBIs in the nightcap.

Toronto won the opener 7-3 behind Kevin Gausman, who allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his first outing at Camden Yards since Baltimore traded him in July 2018.

Cavan Biggio also homered in the second game for the Blue Jays, who extended their lead over Baltimore to 4 1/2 games for the AL’s third and final wild-card spot. The teams will meet 10 times in the final 31 days of the regular season, a stretch that began Monday.

Rougned Odor and Adley Rutschman homered in the second game for Baltimore. The Orioles have lost three in a row, their longest skid since a four-game slide from June 28-July 2.

Toronto starter Jose Berrios (10-5) allowed three runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. He struck out two.

Baltimore scratched scheduled starter Jordan Lyles between games of the doubleheader. Lyles went to warm up but was not feeling well and was replaced by Keegan Akin (3-2). Akin allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings, and both came around on Bichette’s blast that put Toronto ahead 3-1.

The Blue Jays broke it open in the sixth against Zimmermann. Bichette led off with a homer to secure his eighth career multi-homer game, and Biggio followed with a solo drive two batters later. After back-to-back singles, Jackie Bradley Jr. laced a two-run double.

Bichette homered again with one out in the seventh, becoming the first Blue Jays player with a three-homer game since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did it April 13 against the New York Yankees.

Teoscar Hernandez hit his 20th home run in the first game to support Gausman (11-9), selected by Baltimore as fourth overall in the 2012 draft. He zipped through the club’s minor league system and pitched for the Orioles from 2013-18.

His biggest obstacle in his return to Baltimore was arguably a fourth-inning balk call. Gausman stormed off the mound and started arguing with second base umpire Jeff Nelson before Bichette rushed in to hold him back.

Baltimore’s Anthony Santander homered from both sides of the plate for his seventh career multi-homer game in the opener. Mike Baumann (1-3), added as the Orioles’ 29th man, allowed three runs in five innings in his first career start.

The holiday doubleheader included a makeup of an Aug. 10 rainout during Toronto’s first visit to Baltimore this season.