TORONTO — Kendrys Morales hit a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot in the sixth inning, as the Toronto Blue Jays held off the Baltimore Orioles for a 5-3 win on Monday.
Kevin Pillar had two doubles and batted in a run for Toronto (56-69) a day after a costly baserunning error drew the ire of Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
Gibbons was angry that Pillar had been caught trying to steal third base for the final out of the sixth inning in Toronto’s 10-2 loss in New York on Sunday.
After Pillar hit the first of his two doubles in the first inning on Monday, Gibbons turned to a camera in the Blue Jays dugout, smiled, and gave a thumbs up.
Marco Estrada (7-9) allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out four over 5 1/3 innings to help the Blue Jays snap a four-game slide. Ryan Tepera, Jaime Garcia, Tyler Clippard and Ken Giles came out of the bullpen to preserve Toronto’s lead.
Giles earned his 16th save of the season.
Andrew Cashner (4-11) gave up five runs over six innings before reliever Mike Wright Jr., took over for him. Wright pitched a scoreless inning, as did Mychal Givens.
Renato Nunez had a solo homer for Baltimore (37-88).
Pillar hit his second double of the night in the fifth inning, driving in Richard Urena from third base for a 2-1 Toronto lead.
Morales added to that lead two batters later, crushing the ball 437 feet and bringing home Pillar and Justin Smoak, who had walked. The long ball was his 16th of the season and made it Morales’s 22nd multi-homer game in his big league career.
Nunez answered for the Orioles in the sixth inning, putting a solo shot over the left-centre field wall to make it 5-2. Craig Gentry followed that up with a double to left field, but Curtis Granderson misplayed the ball, allowing the Baltimore veteran to reach third on an error. That ended Estrada’s night and brought in Tepera.
Catcher Caleb Joseph put a sharply hit double to centre field to cash in Gentry before Tepera could induce a pair of groundouts to end the inning.
Toronto’s bullpen shut the door for the next three innings, with Giles getting a flyout and two groundouts in the ninth inning to earn the save.
In the top of the third, Chris Davis opened up the scoring for Baltimore, bringing home Jonathan Villar with a sacrifice fly to deep right field.
Morales tied it up for the Blue Jays in the fourth inning, putting the ball over the outfield fence, just inside the first-base line foul pole, delighting the 25,031 in attendance at Rogers Centre.
Toronto catcher Danny Jansen hit a ground rule double in the fourth inning, extending his hit streak to six games since he made his big league debut on Aug. 13. The hit tied him with Jesse Barfield and Ryan Goins as the only Blue Jays rookies to start their MLB careers with a six-game hitting streak.
Notes: Catcher Luke Maile returned to the Blue Jays active roster from the paternity list and right-handed pitcher Sean Reid-Foley was optioned to triple-A Buffalo. … Toronto manager John Gibbons said that Aaron Sanchez would be the starting pitcher for the Blue Jays double-A affiliate in New Hampshire on Monday night. If Sanchez, who was recovering from an ongoing blister issue on his pitching hand, was pain free he would potentially be the Blue Jays starter on Saturday against Philadelphia.
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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press