Guerrero homers and Kikuchi snaps seven-start winless streak as Blue Jays beat Orioles 6-5

TORONTO (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a three-run home run, Yusei Kikuchi pitched six innings to snap a seven-start winless streak and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Thursday to split their four-game series.

Adley Rutschman homered from both sides of the plate for the first time in his career, but the Orioles lost their second straight game.

“It was a hard-fought series for sure,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “I just couldn’t be happier with how they responded after the first two.”

Baltimore scored 19 runs in the first 20 innings of this series but only five over the final 16 innings.

Rutschman hit a solo homer off the left-handed Kikuchi (3-5) in the sixth inning and added a two-run blast off righty Zach Pop in the eighth. The homers were his 11th and 12th this season.

“He gives you a great at-bat every time,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He competes, and he can really hit.”

Rutschman also homered twice in a 3-2 home loss to Toronto on May 13. Both of those came against right-hander José Berríos.

Kikuchi allowed one run and four hits. He walked one and struck out six.

“That’s probably the best I’ve seen him against us,” Hyde said. “He’s been good, but that was 97, 98 mph bullets with a really good breaking ball and a changeup.”

Yimi García gave up a two-out, two-run home run to pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn in the ninth but struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Stowers to earn his fourth save in five chances.

O’Hearn’s homer was his eighth of the season.

Guerrero reached base three times as the Blue Jays became the final AL East team to record 30 wins.

Guerrero called it “huge” for Toronto to recover after 7-2 and 10-1 losses in the first two games against the Orioles.

“It looks better, but I’m not comfortable yet,” Guerrero said through an interpreter. “We’ve got to win more games.”

Making his major league debut, Baltimore’s Cade Povich allowed six runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out two just hours after the O’s selected his contract from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned lefty Nick Vespi to Triple-A.

“I felt fully prepared, fully ready,” Povich said. “It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for since I was a little kid.”

Povich (0-1) needed just four pitches to strike out leadoff batter Davis Schneider, and he retired the first five batters in order.

Guerrero made Povich pay for a pair of walks in the third by hitting a two-out home run, going deep for the seventh time this season. It was the first hit allowed by the left-hander.

“Only a few pitches, probably, he wants back,” Hyde said. “I thought he threw the ball great. Good fastball, I liked his cutter. I liked the poise on the mound. He pitched into the sixth inning on the road in his first major league start. I thought he did a great job.”

The Orioles are 6-10 in one-run games.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Baltimore did not name a starter for Friday’s game at Tampa Bay, the opener of a four-game series. RHP Aaron Civale (2-4, 5.37 ERA) is scheduled to go for the Rays.

Blue Jays: RHP Chris Bassitt (6-6, 4.13 ERA) is expected to start against his former team on Friday night when Toronto begins a three-game series at Oakland. RHP Luis Medina (0-0, 0.00) is scheduled to go for the Athletics.

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