Toronto 13 Baltimore 0
Henderson Alvarez walked off the field after eight sparkling innings, and Toronto acting manager Don Wakamatsu offered the right-hander the best compliment the rookie could hear.
Wakamatsu compared the 21-year-old to 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez, who comes from the same city in Venezuela as Alvarez.
Alvarez became the youngest Blue Jays starter to win a game since 1979, Jose Bautista led a four-homer attack with his 39th of the season, and Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles 13-0 Wednesday night.
Alvarez (1-2) faced the minimum 21 batters through seven innings. Ryan Adams lined a clean single to centre in the third and was immediately wiped out by a double play. Matt Angle reached on an error in the seventh before Jake Fox bounced into a double play.
In the eighth, Vladimir Guerrero and Robert Andino singled before Alvarez worked out of trouble.
Alvarez struck out five and walked none. He recorded only two outs on fly balls.
“I know Felix is his idol,” Wakamatsu said. “He came off the field and I sat next to him and said, ’You remind me of Felix right there.”’
At 21 years and 135 days, Alvarez is the youngest Toronto pitcher to earn a victory since Kelvim Escobar in 1997 and the youngest starter to win since Phil Huffman did it 32 years ago.
“I am very happy to get my first win in the big leagues,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “I was eager for the first one. It took me four starts, but finally I got it.”
Alvarez spoke with Hernandez when the Jays were in Seattle earlier this month.
“I feel very happy that he made that comparison to him,” Alvarez said of Wakamatsu. “I wanted to do the same things he does — go after the hitters and keep the ball down. Do the things that (Hernandez) told me when we met.”
Kelly Johnson and Jose Molina homered in a six-run third inning against former Toronto pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes (7-11). Edwin Encarnacion connected in a four-run fourth, and Bautista hit a two-run drive in the sixth.
The Blue Jays finished with 20 hits, tying a season high. Encarnacion went 4 for 5 with a homer and two doubles, and Yunel Escobar and Eric Thames also had four hits apiece. Bautista and Johnson each contributed three RBIs.
Wakamatsu ran the team in place of manager John Farrell, who missed a sixth straight game while recovering from pneumonia. Farrell will not join the Jays for a three-game series in New York that begins Friday, the team announced.
Toronto used doubles by Encarnacion and rookie Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., to go up 1-0 in the second. That only served as a precursor for the offensive fireworks to follow.
In the third, Thames doubled in a run and scored on a single by Adam Lind. After Encarnacion singled, Johnson hit his first homer since being traded to Toronto from Arizona on Aug. 23. Molina capped the uprising with a solo shot.
That ended Reyes’ night. He allowed seven runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings, matching his shortest start of the year.
“The way I left the ball up today, no matter what team was out there I was going to get hit hard,” said Reyes, who was claimed off waivers from Toronto on Aug. 2. “Any time you leave the ball up in this league you’re going to get hit, and today showed it.”
Toronto made it 11-0 in the fourth. After Thames doubled in a run and Bautista hit a run-scoring grounder, Encarnacion homered off Brad Bergesen.
Bautista went deep against Troy Patton in the sixth.
Baltimore rookie Zach Phillips made his major league debut in the eighth and worked out of a bases-loaded jam.