- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2019

TORONTO (AP) - Outfielder Randal Grichuk wanted the Toronto Blue Jays to feel they’d made the right decision in giving him a five-year, $52 million contract.

So far, so good.

Grichuk hit a pair of solo home runs, Matt Shoemaker pitched seven shutout innings and Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 on Wednesday, avoiding a three-game sweep.

Grichuk, who signed his new contract Tuesday, connected off Jimmy Yacabonis in the third and went deep again off Matt Wotherspoon in the eighth. He has three home runs this season and six career multihomer games.

“Any time a team commits to you like that, you want to go out there and perform well, kind of reassure them that they made a good deal,” Grichuk said. “It’s definitely satisfying to go out there and have a good game after that.”



Infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. said news of Grichuk’s big deal was well received inside Toronto’s clubhouse.

“The entire team was very happy,” Gurriel said through a translator.

Grichuk also doubled and scored in the first. He started in center field in place of Kevin Pillar, who was traded to San Francisco on Tuesday.

Manager Charlie Montoyo said the contract allowed Grichuk to push distractions aside.

“He looked relaxed at the plate,” Montoyo said. “He deserves it, he’s set for life. It’s good for him and it’s good for us.”

Shoemaker (2-0) allowed two hits, walked one and struck out eight. He also pitched seven scoreless innings against Detroit last Friday.

“He works every quadrant of the strike zone well, but his split is an equalizer,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

Shoemaker is the fifth pitcher in Blue Jays history to toss seven scoreless innings and strike out at least seven in back-to-back outings. The others are Tom Candiotti (1991), Roger Clemens (1997 and 1998), Ricky Romero (2009) and Brandon Morrow (2011).

Grichuk said Shoemaker’s first two starts with Toronto have been “phenomenal.”

“He’s made hitters off-balance both games for seven full innings each time,” Grichuk said. “He’s looked really, really good.”

Shoemaker made 21 starts in 2016 and 2017 for the Angels, missing time each year with injuries.

“The biggest thing is being healthy,” he said of his strong start. “It’s exciting. I know what I’m capable of, I know what I can do. You’ve just got to be on the field to do it.”

The Orioles, who had won four in row, rallied in the ninth on Trey Mancini’s third homer. His three-run shot came off Daniel Hudson and was his third of the year.

Ken Giles got two outs for his second save in as many chances.

Right-hander Nate Karns (0-1) opened for Baltimore. He allowed three hits and one unearned run in two innings.

Grichuk scored in the first when third baseman Rio Ruiz made an errant throw to first on Teoscar Hernandez’s infield single. Toronto’s two hits in the first were one more than they’d picked up over 55 at-bats through the first three innings of their previous six games this season.

Gurriel had a two-run double off Wotherspoon in the eighth.

The finale of a sparsely attended series drew 11,436. A total of 34,006 people came to the three games.

BUSTED BELT

Baltimore’s Renato Nunez damaged his belt diving back to first base on a pickoff play in the second and had to have a replacement sent out from the bench.

MANCINI MASHING

Mancini is hitting .417 (10 for 24) with eight RBIs this, and has at least one hit in all six games so far.

SLUMP OVER

Gurriel snapped a career-worst 0-for-25 skid with an infield single in the second.

SERVE IT UP

Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu threw out the first pitch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Alex Cobb (right groin) will be activated off the 10-day injured list to start Thursday’s home opener against the Yankees. … RHP Pedro Araujo was designated for assignment and Wotherspoon was selected from Triple-A Norfolk. He made his major league debut in the seventh. Wotherspoon was optioned back to Triple-A following his two-inning stint.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Cobb was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Yankees last season.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-0) starts the opener of the four-game series in Cleveland. Sanchez is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in three career starts against the Indians.

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