With his latest big moment, Springer secures yet another Blue Jays comeback

With his latest big moment, Springer secures yet another Blue Jays comeback

BALTIMORE – George Springer’s latest big moment for the Toronto Blue Jays capped yet another improbable comeback, this one after ace Hyun Jin Ryu buried his team in a deep hole and the Baltimore Orioles kept adding from there.

No matter, as they chipped away with runs in five of the final six innings, including a four-spot in the seventh capped by the star outfielder’s go-ahead two-run homer that secured an 11-10 victory in the opener of a doubleheader Saturday.

The Blue Jays trailed from the first onwards until Springer’s decisive blow, his first longball since a pair Aug. 11, before he strained his left knee and hit the injured list.

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Nate Pearson opened a pathway to a rally in the seventh by putting zeroes in the fifth and sixth innings. Teoscar Hernandez then opened up the final inning with a double off Tyler Wells, Corey Dickerson followed with a walk and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., lined a single off the right-field wall that cut Baltimore’s lead to 10-8.

Jake Lamb followed with a sacrifice fly and, after Danny Jansen flew out, Springer ripped a slider over the left-field wall, pumping his arm as the ball cleared. Springer also delivered a dramatic game-winning homer in the eighth inning of a 9-8 win over the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 8, another start in which Ryu allowed seven runs.

Jordan Romano locked down the unlikely rally in the bottom half.

Ryu allowed seven runs in a start for the fourth time this season, three of them in the past month. At 2.1 innings, Saturday was also the shortest start of his season.

“I felt really bad for the position players and all my teammates,” Ryu said through interpreter J.S. Park. “They were able to compete and fight every at-bat and get us a win.”

Given the stakes every time out and that Ryu also left his last outing – a six-shutout inning, three-hit gem Monday at the New York Yankees – with left forearm soreness, it’s an obvious cause for concern.

Ryu has essentially been alternating good and bad outings since that game the Red Sox on Aug. 8 and got jumped immediately Saturday, allowing two-run homers to Anthony Santander in the first and Austin Hays in the second.

Still, manager Charlie Montoyo gave him more runway than he otherwise might have after Robbie Ray only went 4.1 innings Friday night, the bullpen taxed and Thomas Hatch set to start the nightcap.

Pivotally, that played out in the third inning, when Pedro Severino chopped a ball through the infield to load the bases with one out. Montoyo came out for a mound visit and had Ross Stripling, initially slated to start the nightcap but held back in case of emergency, ready.

But rather than making a move, Montoyo stuck with Ryu who got strike one on Ryan McKenna before leaving a cutter in the middle ripped to left for a two-run double that put the Orioles up 7-3.

“He asked me if I could compete and stay in and I told him, of course I can, but the result didn’t come out as well as we hoped,” said Ryu, who added that there’s “nothing wrong with my arm right now.”

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Second-guessing the manager’s call then and there was low-hanging fruit, especially since Ryu hadn’t been great beforehand. But if he executes the cutter down in the zone, he likely gets an inning-ending double play, allowing him to pitch deeper in the game.

Every out counts in a doubleheader and the Blue Jays were concerned enough about the state of their bullpen to bring up Anthony Castro for the taxi squad, just in case.

After the McKenna double, Stripling took over and got some help to escape the inning without further damage, as Bo Bichette made an excellent diving stab of a Kelvin Gutierrez grounder and bounced a throw to the plate picked adeptly by Jansen before the catcher applied a strong tag on Severino for an out.

Jansen followed that with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth that cut Baltimore’s lead to 7-5. But Stripling, in his first outing back from the injured list, gave that back in more in the bottom half, allowing back-to-back homers to Hays and Ryan Mountcastle to open the inning and a Severino RBI single that made it 10-7.

Gurriel hit a two-run homer in the second that tied the game 2-2, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ripped No. 43 to bring the Jays within 5-3 in the third and Lamb hit a two-run single in the fifth that made it a 7-5 game.

That set the stage for Springer’s latest dramatic turn.

“It was a great home run. If he can stay healthy, he’s definitely one of the best hitters out there,” Ryu said of Springer. “Even those games when we give up a lot of runs early our team just never gives up. That’s great to see from the players that we’re trying to compete every game. We still have three weeks left in the season, we have to make sure that we stay focused and compete.”

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