Gausman struggles, Orioles' wild-card hopes take blow
- Toronto's Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 Baltimore Orioles.
- Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer for Toronto in its 5-1 win.
- The Jays now have a two-game lead over the O's in AL wild-card chase.
TORONTO — Kevin Gausman hasn't gotten off to a good start in any of his three games at Toronto this season.
His latest stumble meant the Orioles couldn't get off to a good start in this crucial series.
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 and the Blue Jays beat Baltimore 5-1 on Tuesday night in the opener of their AL wild-card showdown.
Gausman has allowed at least one early run in every start north of the border this year. He's 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in those games.
"The first inning hasn't been very good in all three of my starts," he said.
Ezequiel Carrera also homered as the Blue Jays won for the sixth time in eight games. They lead the wild-card standings by two games over the Orioles with five to play.
Baltimore is one game ahead of Detroit for the league's final playoff spot.
Gausman (8-12) allowed five runs, four earned, and seven hits in six innings. He gave up two home runs for the second straight start.
"We know we have to win to stay," Gausman said. "With the two teams left that we have to play (Toronto and New York), we're definitely up against the wall."
Toronto is 10-7 against Baltimore with two meetings left, giving the Blue Jays the tiebreaker if the teams finish with the same record.
Orioles slugger Chris Davis was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Will Little after striking out against Joe Biagini in the seventh, the third time in three at-bats Davis was caught looking. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter also was tossed after he came out to argue.
"I just felt like the pitches that were being called against me weren't quality pitches," Davis said."
Sanchez (14-2) struck out the first four hitters he faced and five of the first six. He gave up one run and five hits over six innings to win for the first time in four starts.
"We've seen him quite a bit and it was another impressive outing for him," Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo said. "He's got a big-time fastball."
Sanchez walked three and reached double digits in strikeouts for the second time. He's 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts against Baltimore this season.
Batting leadoff in place of injured second baseman Devon Travis (left shoulder), Carrera went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and scored three runs.
He walked in the first and scored when Donaldson hit his 37th homer.
Carrera connected for an opposite-field drive in the third and drove in a run with a single in the fifth.
Two batters later, Toronto made it 5-1 when Carrera scored on third baseman Manny Machado's throwing error.
"We gave them a lot of margin for error," Showalter said.
NO DEBATE ABOUT IT
With a night off Monday, Showalter tried watching the presidential debate but didn't last long. "After 30 minutes I had to turn it off," he said. "It was embarrassing." Having passed on politics, Showalter said he ended up watching the movie "Ghostbusters."
Orioles: Ryan Flaherty replaced Davis. ... LHP Wade Miley left the team and returned home for the birth of his first child, a son. He's expected to return in time for his next scheduled start, Friday or Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Blue Jays: Toronto reliever Joaquin Benoit will miss the rest of the regular season after tearing his left calf muscle during the second of two bench-clearing scraps in Monday night's loss to the Yankees. ... Travis is day to day after jamming his surgically repaired shoulder in the same melee with New York. ... Toronto recalled INF Andy Burns from the minors and selected the contract RHP Chris Smith.
Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.84 ERA) faces Blue Jays LHP Francisco Liriano (8-13, 4.88) on Wednesday night. Tillman is 2-6 with a 7.51 ERA in 12 career starts at Toronto. Liriano pitched six shutout innings against the Yankees last Friday to earn his first win since Aug. 26.