**BREAKING: Baltimore Orioles’ Anthony Santander Benched Due to Injury**

The short notice didn’t reduce Dean Kremer’s effectiveness.

The previous back soreness didn’t drain the power from Anthony Santander’s bat.

Told yesterday that he’d move up to start tonight, Kremer twirled six scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Didn’t walk a batter. Didn’t flinch at the assignment.

Santander returned to the lineup and hit his 22nd and 23rd home runs, and the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 7-0 for their eighth shutout of the season before an announced crowd of 19,132 at Camden Yards.

Jacob Webb retired the side in order in the seventh for his ninth scoreless outing with the Orioles over 8 2/3 innings, striking out his 12th batter. Yennier Cano had a clean eighth, aided by Cedric Mullins’ leaping catch at the fence to rob pinch-hitter Cavan Biggio. Cano was pitching on back-to-back nights.

Félix Bautista was warming, but a five-run bottom of the eighth, including Mullins’ sacrifice fly, a Trevor Richards’ wild pitch and throwing error on catcher Danny Jansen that let Ryan Mountcastle score, and two-run single by Adley Rutschman, prompted manager Brandon Hyde to use Shintaro Fujinami.

High leverage took a nosedive, and Fujinami struck out the side.

“That’s the guy we know he can be, and he can be a difference-maker for us,” Hyde said. “Throwing the baseball like that at 101 with splits below, and just really tough to hit. Keep giving him the ball and hopefully he can help us in that back end.”

The Orioles are 78-48 and assured of going 80 consecutive series without being swept. They’re 9-3 against Toronto.

Santander was out of the lineup for three games with lower-back soreness. He had a bounceback night, golfing a low slider from former Orioles starter Kevin Gausman to right field for a 2-0 lead in the fifth, and barreling Richards’ fastball in the eighth for his 13th career multi-homer game and third this season.

“He’s been huge,” Kremer said. “He’s been able to play almost every day and his bat is definitely a game-changer. … He’s an incredible clubhouse guy, as well.”

The team lead in home runs belongs to Santander exclusively after he entered the night tied with Gunnar Henderson.

“Nice to have him back in the lineup,” Hyde said. “It’s probably something I’m going to have to monitor. As you can tell, he makes a huge impact in our lineup when he’s in there. Great night from him, offensively.

“He’s definitely a favorite. He didn’t break with that team in ’19. He came up at one point during that year, and I just loved the way he played. I remember I played him in center. We didn’t have a center fielder at that time. Just watching him mature as a hitter and as a player, as a person, these last few years, it’s been really gratifying.”

The back isn’t fully healed, but it didn’t show.

“Not 100 percent, but I feel much better today,” Santander said. “Thank God I was able to play and produce today.”

The homer off Gausman came on a pitch well below the zone.

“I was looking up,” he said. “I guess I’m a good low-pitch hitter. Was able to stay back on my leg and put a good swing.”

Kremer surrendered five hits and struck out five batters. He was removed after 94 pitches, and with his ERA at 4.31.

A 12th win ties Kremer with Kyle Gibson for the team lead. He’s allowed three runs in 17 1/3 innings in three starts against the Jays this season.

“I feel like it was good, executed for the most part,” he said.

Asked how he’s grown this season, Kremer said, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so that’s the goal, to really peak once September and, hopefully, October hit.”

Kremer allowed two singles in the first inning and retired nine in a row before George Springer singled with two outs in the fourth.

“Late bump up from yesterday, and it’s a team we know pretty well, so he’s done his homework already on these guys,” Hyde said. “Just really threw the ball really well. No walks. We didn’t walk a batter on the night. I thought he had a really good fastball and cutter going, located his fastball extremely well. And once again, we played really, really good defense.”

“It was a bit of a surprise,” Kremer said of having his start pushed forward, “but the last time I pitched was Wednesday, so it’s a whole week. Plenty of rest.”

Kremer made his 10th appearance against the Jays – and it seems like more to him – so he’s familiar with them. Not much is going to surprise him.

“I’ve faced them about a billion times the last couple years, so it does make it a little bit easier, scouting-wise, rather than have a team that you don’t know,” he said. “There’s a little bit of comfort in that.”

Henderson led off the third inning with a double, tagged and raced to third base on Santander’s fly ball to center field – diving hard into the bag – and scored on Mountcastle’s ground ball up the middle.

Mountcastle gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead and extended the majors’ longest active on-base streak to 28 games.

The Orioles didn’t score in the second after loading the bases with one out, an inning that included Ryan O’Hearn’s single, Austin Hays’ walk and Whit Merrifield’s fielding error. Merrifield dropped Mullins’ popup but got the out under the infield fly rule.

Ramón Urías was called out on strikes with the count full, and Rutschman struck out on three pitches.

Gausman threw 13 pitches in the first, with Rutschman reaching on an error, and 28 in the second. He finished at 107 in six innings, with two runs allowed and eight strikeouts in only his second start in Baltimore since the 2018 trade deadline.

The game fell apart completely for the Jays in the eighth, with the Orioles sending nine batters to the plate and staying two games ahead of the Rays in the American League East.

“I think we do a great job of turning the page,” Hyde said. “Last night’s game stunk and we left some runs out there early, could have made it a little tougher on them, putting the ball in play there early in the game, and fortunately we get that big inning late, which we don’t usually get. Usually, it’s a ‘hold on tight’ a lot of nights, but great to see us with that rally.”

* Kyle Gibson is starting Thursday night.

* Tyler Wells tossed a scoreless relief inning tonight with Triple-A Norfolk, allowing one hit and throwing nine of 14 pitches for strikes. DL Hall walked two batters and struck out three in the ninth to record the save. Starter Justin Armbruester allowed one hit and struck out six batters in five innings.

Coby Mayo had a two-run double in the fifth.

John Rhodes hit his 15th home run for Double-A Bowie and Jud Fabian hit his 11th. They combined for four hits and five RBIs.

Dylan Beavers led off and collected three hits. Connor Pavolony had an RBI double in the 10th to break a tie, and he scored on Max Wagner’s single.

High-A Aberdeen’s Cooper Chandler allowed one hit and struck out seven in four scoreless innings.

Single-A Delmarva’s Angel Tejada singled and drove in the Shorebirds’ only run.

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