After two mediocre starts to the 2014 season, Ubaldo Jimenez was surely looking to rebound. But he looked erratic to start the game and ran his pitch count up early. He needed 27 pitches to get through the first, and he wasn't throwing first-pitch strikes. On the 10th pitch of the game, Colby Rasmus started what would be a 3-for-4 day with a solo shot to make it 1-0 Jays.
The Orioles were aggressive against Jays starter Mark Buehrle, with "aggressive" being a synonym for "impatient". Nick Markakis singled on the first pitch he saw, Delmon Young doubled him to third on the second pitch of his plate appearance, and Adam Jones grounded out — scoring Markakis — on the first pitch of his plate appearance. Whew.
With the game now tied at 1, Jimenez worked quickly in the third, retiring Cabrera and Rasmus on just four pitches before Jose Bautista rocketed a ball over Young’s head in left field. A sure double, or so Bautista thought. Young fired a laser to second base in time to nail Bautista, ending the inning. It was a heads-up play that most fielders would've given up on. Meanwhile, the O's put two runners on but did not score in the bottom half. Jones did record the 1000th hit of his career.
Jimenez came unglued a bit in a wacky fourth inning. He walked Lind to lead off the inning, and Encarnacion ripped the first pitch he saw down the third-base line. The umpire signaled fair but the ball girl fielded the ball as it rolled by. It was scored a ground rule double and Lind was placed at third. He scored on a Dioner Navarro groundout to make it 2-1 Jays, and Encarnacion himself scored three pitches later on a suicide squeeze by Jonathan Diaz. 3-1 Jays.
Jimenez looked much sharper in the fifth, but Toronto smacked him around in the sixth. You could hear the sharp cracks off the bats of Diaz (flyout to deep LF), Lawrie (home run, 4-1 Jays), and Goins (long single off the right-field wall). With Jimenez at 98 pitches and struggling, Buck pulled the trigger and brought in Josh Stinson to relieve. Melky Cabrera cracked a high chopper that bounced over Chris Davis’s head and into right field for a freak double. Colby Rasmus then singled past a drawn-in infield to score both runners, making it 6-1 Jays. Bautista popped out, but Lind singled and Encarnacion slammed a double into the gap that scored both runners. 8-1 Jays. Mercifully, Encarnacion was tagged out between second and third to end the inning.
The O’s did nothing worth mentioning in the 6th or 7th. In fact they looked like they were trying to get things over as quickly as possible. Jones, in particular, swung at the first pitch in nearly every plate appearance. Some sparks flew in the 8th, though. In the top half, Bautista crushed a three-run homer off Stinson to push Toronto’s lead to 11-1. And in the bottom half, Davis and Matt Wieters went back-to-back to nudge the score to 11-3. Jonathan Schoop impressed Gary Thorne with a nice two-out double in the bottom of the ninth.
Tomorrow the O’s look to rebound against Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays. They’ll send out Wei-Yin Chen to try and start the series off on a good note.