Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel throws to the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:16 pm
Blue Jays muster 6 hits in 3-0 loss to Orioles
By DAVID GINSBURGAP Sports Writer
That isn't exactly how the Toronto Blue Jays expected to fare against the Baltimore Orioles, a team they used to dominate.
Jason Hammel threw seven innings of four-hit ball, and the Orioles got home runs from Wilson Betemit and Chris Davis in a 3-0 victory Wednesday night.
After scoring only one run on Tuesday, the Blue Jays were blanked for the first time this season by Hammel and two relievers.
"We're in a little bit of a dry patch right now, the last two nights," Toronto manager John Farrell acknowledged. "But I'm not going to take anything away from their ability to pitch and how they have executed in these first two games."
Baltimore is 4-1 against Toronto this season and will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Thursday night. The Blue Jays were 12-6 against the Orioles last year and 15-3 in 2010.
Hammel (3-0) struck out seven and walked one in lowering his ERA to 1.73 over four starts. The right-hander was dealt to Baltimore in February with Matt Lindstrom in the trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado.
"So far it's good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the trade. "Jeremy's going to pitch real well over there. He already is. We look at it as quality for quality."
After Hammel departed, Lindstrom worked a perfect eighth and Pedro Strop got three outs for his second save in two nights as the replacement for closer Jim Johnson, who has been hospitalized since Monday with flulike symptoms. Strop yielded two hits but effectively sealed Baltimore's first shutout since Sept. 9, 2011, against Toronto.
Blue Jays starter Kyle Drabek (2-1) allowed two runs, five hits and three walks in six innings. He was aided by three double plays.
But Drabek got little support from the Toronto offense. Yunel Escobar struck out three times, Kelly Johnson went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and the Blue Jays placed only three runners in scoring position.
"We have a great hitting club," Drabek said. "Today we happened to not score anything. But I'm not worried."
On this night, Hammel was just too good.
"You have a pitcher that's 94, 95 (mph) with two breaking balls for strikes," Farrell said. "We'll tip our cap to him tonight."
Betemit committed an error at third base in each of the first innings, but made amends in the second by driving a 3-1 pitch over the center-field wall to put Baltimore up 1-0.
Held hitless over the first three innings, the Blue Jays used two singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs. Hammel then threw a 3-2 fastball past Corey Rasmus for his sixth strikeout.
In the bottom half, Davis hit an opposite-field drive to left on a 2-2 pitch. Both his home runs this season have come against Toronto.
The Orioles added a run in the eighth against Jason Frasor. Nick Markakis drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by Adam Jones.
NOTES: Toronto turned four DPs to raise its major-league leading total to 30 (in only 18 games). ... Orioles 2B Robert Andino was placed on paternity leave to be with his wife, who gave birth to a girl on Wednesday. RHP Jason Berken replaced Andino on the 25-man roster. ... Toronto rookie RHP Drew Hutchison makes his second career start Thursday in the series finale. Baltimore LHP Brian Matusz (0-3) vies for his first win since June 6, 2011. ... Hammel improved to 4-0 lifetime against Toronto. ... Baltimore's Mark Reynolds snapped an 0-for-17 skid with an infield hit in the fifth and singled in the seventh.
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