It was a day of "supposed to be's". The O's were supposed to win. Bud Norris was supposed to be over his poor Spring Training. The temperature was supposed to creep into the 70s. None of that happened, but instead the Orioles play mirrored the dark, grey, wet and cold weather that surrounded the ballpark all day.
Toronto's offense got to bashing the Baltimore hurlers from the first pitch. Well, technically, it was the eighth pitch that leadoff man, Jose Reyes, smacked up the middle to start the day. It all went down hill from there for the O's starter Norris.
The Jays sent eight hitters to the plate in the first inning, scoring four runs off of four hits and a walk.
In the bottom of the inning, Adam Jones got the Birds on the board with a home run to left center, his first of the season.
Beyond that, it was pretty much all Toronto. They added a run in the third thanks to a sacrifice fly from Josh Donaldson, which scored Jose Bautista from third.
In the fourth, Norris turned the ball over to Brad Brach, but only after loading the bases with no outs. Brach allowed three hits, letting in five runs (three of which were Norris'), before getting out of the frame. It was 10-1 at this point.
Norris' line on the day: three innings, eight runs, seven hits, one walk and one strikeout. Yikes.
Jones added another RBI on the day when he singled to left field, scoring Caleb Joseph, who had gotten aboard with a double a few hitters earlier. However, Jones was thrown out at second trying to stretch his single; an interesting decision in such a blowout. 10-2 Blue Jays.
The next inning, Toronto took that run back when Bautista scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dioner Navarro, making it an 11-2 game. Bautista left the game following the inning with what is being reported as a "cramp" in his leg, but the severity of the injury remains to be seen.
The O's offense found a little rhythm in the bottom of the eighth when they got back-to-back-to-back hits from Jones, Chris Davis and Delmon Young, ultimately scoring two runs in the inning.
Each team added a run in the ninth inning. For the O's, it was Jonathan Schoop who smacked a deep fly ball that landed just to the left of the bullpens in the left field bleachers for his first home run of 2015. But it wasn't enough as the O's dropped their first home game this year.
The difference on the day was the starting pitching. Norris was pretty bad, which has to raise the question of how long the leash will be on any of the starters with Kevin Gausman waiting in the wings. Obviously, it will take more than one poor start to shake things up, but this outing, paired with Norris' poor spring, will have some pondering what could be.
Meanwhile, lefty Mark Buehrle worked out of trouble for the visitors, tossing six innings and allowing just two runs on eight hits and walking two for his 200th career win.
Neither bullpen pitched particularly well. The Blue Jays used three relievers to get through the final nine outs. As a trio they allowed three runs on five hits in that time.
I mentioned Brach above. Rookie Jason Garcia tossed 2.2 innings and held his own, allowing one run on two walks and two hits but striking out two. Southpaw Wesley Wright struggled a bit, giving up a run over just 1.1 innings of work. Manager Buck Showalter said after the game that Wright was having some pain in his left shoulder following the outing, but there did not seem to be any roster move pending.
Jones' bat came alive this afternoon, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Every starter apart from Steve Pearce and Manny Machado had a hit in the game. All together, the lineup had 13 hits and the team only struck out twice. But the lineup left 11 runners on and hit into three double plays on the day, killing several rally opportunities.
The loss put a damper on the day, but prior to the game both Jones and J.J. Hardy received the Gold Glove awards they won last fall. Also of mention was the ceremony in which Hall-of-Famer Jim Palmer threw out the first pitch and was honored for his half-century with the club, and was also given a check for Autism Speaks, a charity that is close to his heart being that he has an autistic step-son. Palmer was noticeable choked up by the gesture during the MASN broadcast. So, not everything stunk today.
These two teams will meet again in the second of a three-game set tomorrow. Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch for the O's while the Blue Jays will counter with 22-year-old right-hander Aaron Sanchez. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. We'll see you at the Yard.