Baseball / Sports

Orioles hitters shut down in 5-1 loss to Blue Jays

TORONTO -- The rest of baseball hasn't had much trouble figuring out Drew Hutchison this season, but when he pitches against the Orioles, the Toronto Blue Jays right-hander has been nearly unhittable.

A day after chasing Toronto's best starter -- 11-game winner Mark Buehrle -- from the game after just four innings and scoring nine runs in a series-opening win, the Orioles struggled mightily against Hutchison in a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday night in front of an announced 33,054 at the Rogers Centre.

Hutchison recorded one of his most dominating starts of the season, holding the Orioles to just one hit in 8 2/3 innings, ending his outing by retiring 22 of the final 23 batters he faced.

The loss snapped the Orioles' three-game winning streak, and it also allowed the second-place Blue Jays to climb back within four games of the American League East division lead.

The Orioles (64-49) had scored 33 runs -- along with 48 hits -- in their first four games at the Rogers Centre this season, but they managed just two base runners and didn't have a runner in scoring position Wednesday, suffering their eighth shutout loss of the season.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays (61-54) scored all five of their runs with two outs, making it a frustrating night for Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, whose five-start winning streak was snapped.

The Orioles' only hit against Hutchison came on Chris Davis' mammoth opposite-field home run in the top of the second inning. Otherwise, an Orioles offense that had scored 16 runs over its previous two games fell flat.

Hutchison (8-9) had his best start since he pitched seven shutout innings when he last faced the Orioles on June 13 at Camden Yards.

Hutchison, who has a 5.29 ERA against all teams besides the Orioles this season, has allowed just three runs in 34 2/3 innings (0.79 ERA) in his last five starts against the Orioles. He has posted scoreless outings in four of his last five starts against the Orioles.

The Blue Jays jumped on Chen (12-4) early in a 28-pitch first inning, scoring runs on back-to-back, two-out RBI singles by Dioner Navarro and Danny Valencia to take a 2-0 lead.

Toronto didn't hit the ball hard Chen against in that inning despite four hits and a walk. Navarro hit a bloop single to right field, and Valencia followed with a seeing-eye single to left field that bounced between third baseman Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy.

Davis then brought the Orioles within a run in the top of the second, hitting a 2-2 pitch from Hutchison into the second deck in left field, a powerful opposite-field shot reminiscent of some of his longballs during last year's 53-homer season.

It was Davis' second homer is as many days, marking the first time Davis has hit a home run in back-to-back games in nearly a year (Aug. 12-13, 2013). It was also Davis' 24th career homer against the Blue Jays, his most against any opponent, and his 20th against Toronto since the beginning of the 2012 season.

But the Blue Jays answered in the bottom of the second inning on Jose Bautista's two-run homer off Chen following Melky Cabrera's two-out double. Bautista later drove in another run on a two-out double in the sixth inning off reliever T.J. McFarland.

Chen's pitch count escalated quickly after the Blue Jays worked some deep counts against him, including at-bats of 10 and 12 pitches. The four runs -- all in the first two innings -- were the most he has given up since he allowed five runs in his last loss June 28 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hutchison retired 22 straight hitters following Davis' homer and was one out away from a one-hit, complete game before he walked Nick Markakis with two outs in the ninth.

Hutchison was pulled from the game following that plate appearance after throwing 115 pitches, and he walked off the field to a standing ovation before Casey Janssen forced Machado to hit a pop-up to first base for the final out of the night.

(c)2014 The Baltimore Sun

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