Both the Orioles and the Blue Jays sent pitchers to the mound tonight with ERAs greater than five. So how is it that the O's starter, Tommy Hunter, was awful and the Jays starter, Drew Hutchison, was great? Well I don't know much about Hutchison, but we all know that Tommy Hunter sucks.
It only took the Blue Jays two batters to take a lead they'd never relinquish, as Kelly Johnson led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and came around to score on a single by Colby Rasmus. Hunter allowed one other hit in the inning but no more runs, and he threw 26 pitches. The Blue Jays scored another run in the second on a ground out after two singles, then plated two runs in each the second and third innings in classic Tommy Hunter style: two two-run homers.
After the home run in the fourth inning, Hunter was pulled from the game having not recorded an out in the inning. His final pitching line: 3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR. He was replaced by Dana Eveland who pitched four scoreless innings, giving up just three hits. Thank goodness Eveland was good tonight as it saved the bullpen from being depleted at the start of this road trip. Kevin Gregg also pitched a scoreless inning.
But what about that other guy with the 5+ ERA? Drew Hutchison? Yeah, the Orioles were awful against him. In seven innings they managed just three hits and three walks. Their big chance against him came in the third inning when the O's had a single and three walks in the inning but didn't score a run. Chris Davis led off with a single, then after a walk to Mark Reynolds moved Davis to second base, he wandered too far off the base and was picked off. Thanks a lot, Chris! Robert Andino and J.J. Hardy also walked in the inning but neither Xavier Avery nor Nick Markakis were able to knock in a run.
From the fourth through seventh innings the Orioles managed just three baserunners on two singles and a hit by pitch, so despite the good job by Eveland to keep the Blue Jays from scoring any more runs, the offense wasn't able to come back. In fact it took until the ninth inning for them to get their offense going, and by then it was too little too late.
Francisco Cordero came in to pitch the ninth inning with a 6-0 lead and immediately gave up back-to-back-to-back singles to Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Wilson Betemit, the last of which finally got the O's on the board. After Davis struck out, Reynolds doubled to deep center field, just missing a home run. Wieters scored and with two runners on and just one out, the Jays brought in their closer, Casey Janssen. Janssen made short work of Andino and pinch hitter Nick Johnson to end the game.
I don't want to be all PANIC! about things, but it feels like things are starting to unravel in Birdland. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. But if I'm not and this is the beginning of the end, it was a really nice two months. More than I hoped for going in. Tomorrow Jake Arrieta will try to stop the bleeding as he faces off against Ricky Romero. Fantastic.