Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, right, throws a pitch to Baltimore Orioles’ Austin Hays during the second inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, right, throws a pitch to Baltimore Orioles’ Austin Hays during the second inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Rutschman, Hays HRs back Wells’ sharp pitching performance as Orioles beat Blue Jays 4-2

Adley Rutschman and Austin Hays homered, Anthony Santander singled in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 Thursday behind a strong pitching performance by Tyler Wells.

Rutchman had three hits to help the Orioles overcome a pair of homers by Toronto’s Danny Jansen in the deciding matchup of the three-game series.

Baltimore has won six of seven and owns the second-best record in the majors (43-25).

Wells (6-2) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one in winning his third straight start.

“Besides the Danny Jansen at-bats, he was absolutely fantastic,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of Wells. “He was doing what he’s been doing all year: throwing a ton of strikes, working ahead in the count, locating well. Great start for him.”

Yennier Cano got three outs, and Felix Bautista struck out Matt Chapman with two on and two outs in the eighth inning before working a perfect ninth for his 18th save.

“Our bullpen has been one of the best in baseball, with those two guys that pitched two-plus innings out of the pen,” Hyde said.

It was another struggle for the Toronto offense, which won 3-1 on Wednesday but went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in the series finale.

“It seems like we’re getting guys on but not cashing in. That’s kind of been the M.O.,” manager John Schneider said.

With the score tied at 2, Toronto reliever Yimi García (1-3) got the first two outs in the sixth before giving up singles to Hays and Rutschman. Santander followed with a sharp grounder that glanced off the glove of first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for an RBI single.

Hays provided a two-run cushion with a bases-empty drive in the eighth.

“That was massive,” Hyde said. “That was a huge hit for us.”

Baltimore scraped together a first-inning run with a walk, a wild pitch and a two-out single by Gunnar Henderson. Toronto tied it in the third with one swing of Jansen’s bat.

Jansen connected again in the fifth for his sixth career multi-homer game. Rutschman answered in the bottom half with a solo shot, his ninth home run of the season.

Toronto starter Yusel Kikuchi gave up two runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, but the Toronto bats did not provide him much support.

“I do think it’s a matter of time,” Schneider said. “These guys are talented. It’s going to take a few games in a row to kind of cash those runs in. Yeah, but we’ve got to turn that around for sure.”

The loss dropped the fourth-place Blue Jays to 38-32, including 1-5 against Baltimore.

“Not exactly where we want to be,” Schneider said. “We really haven’t fired on all cylinders yet. Not for a lack of effort, not for a lack of prep. So hopefully that all gets in sync pretty quick.”


Add Schneider to the growing list of people who are convinced the soaring Orioles are not a fluke. “That’s a good team. They’re past the point of being the cute, upstart, fun bunch,” Schneider said before the game. The difference between this version of the Orioles and the team that went 52-110 just two years ago? “To me, the biggest shift is Adley Rutschman. He’s really good. He’s a problem, and will be a problem for opposing teams for a while.”


Blue Jays: RH Zach Pop (hamstring) will throw live batting practice on Saturday, Schneider said. … INF Brandon Belt (hamstring) is “getting better every day,” the manager said. … RH Adam Cimber is expected to come off the paternity list Friday.

Orioles: RH Mychal Givens (shoulder) emerged from his rehabilitation stint with Double-A Bowie on Wednesday in good health, and will next pitch Friday for Triple-A Norfolk.


Blue Jays: RH Kevin Gausman (5-3, 3.12 ERA) helps Toronto open a three-game road series against the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Orioles: LH Cole Irvin (1-2, 7.85) starts Friday against the Chicago Cubs in the first of three straight day games at Wrigley Field.