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Morales and Blue Jays batter Orioles in 5-3 loss

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Andrew Cashner took the loss after giving up five runs in six innings, while the Orioles offense could not keep up with Kendrys Morales and the Blue Jays.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Cashner had it going on early in this one, but he faded during the middle innings, with his loss punctuated by a four-run fifth inning. Kendrys Morales supplied the pop for the Blue Jays offense and the Orioles were unable to claw their way back into the game.

Toronto still owns Baltimore this year, with a 10-1 record against the O’s after this game.

At the start of play Monday, Cedric Mullins was 4-for-11 from the leadoff spot with one walk. Tonight, he went 0-for-4. He struck out on four pitches to lead off the game, swinging at back to back changeups to end the at-bat. Later, he would fly out, walk, and ground out twice.

Coming into the game, Jonathan Villar was hitting .270/.343/.444 in 71 plate appearances with the Orioles this year. Jonathan Schoop, by comparison, was hitting .163/.180/.204 in 50 plate appearances with the Brewers.

In his first at-bat, Villar showcased a skillset the O’s have been lacking — patience and speed — when he walked and stole second base. He was originally called out at second, but upon further review, the play was overturned.

Later on, Tim Beckham singled with two outs in the second for the Orioles first hit of the night. Then Craig Gentry followed with a perfectly placed bunt single to the left side, putting runners at first and second. Both would be stranded when the inning ended one batter later, on a Caleb Joseph strikeout.

In Villar’s second at-bat, he blooped a base hit single to left field and had to slam on the breaks coming around first base. It’s refreshing to see his consistent hustle. Villar finished the night 1-for-4 with two steals and a run scored.

Trey Mancini reached on an infield single to third after Villar. Russell Martin’s throw from third base was not in time, an inning after Gentry reached on bunt to Martin, who was playing third tonight instead of his usual catcher spot. Adam Jones then walked to load the bases and Chris Davis drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field.

In his last seven games before tonight, Davis was hitting .333/.333/.556. It looks like he may get a chance to collect regular at-bats as the designated hitter for a while with Mark Trumbo on the disabled list and Trey Mancini shifting to first. At the very least, Mancini and Davis could split duties between first base and DH.

For the first third of the game, Andrew Cashner was cruising. He needed only 27 pitches to get through the Jays order the first time and 34 pitches to get through the first three innings. But he ran into a little trouble during a 25-pitch fourth when he allowed a solo home run to Morales, giving the Blue Jays a one run lead.

The very next inning, in the fifth, Toronto took the lead after a Kevin Pillar double scored Richard Urena from second. Then Justin Smoak walked and Morales launched a three-run homer. After three at-bats, Morales was 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI. He finished the night 2-for-4.

Renato Nunez responded to the Jays with a big fly of his own in the top of the sixth, a solo shot to left field off an 89 mph fastball. Gentry doubled to left and reached third on an error by left fielder Curtis Granderson. Then Caleb Joseph drove Gentry home with a double. Baltimore was back within two. But that was the closest they would get the rest of the night.

Gentry finished the game 3-for-4 with two singles, a double and a run scored.

Despite the lopsided score, Cashner actually pitched deeper into the game than the Blue Jays’ Estrada, who would exit with one out in the fifth and 97 pitches thrown. Ryan Tepera came on and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, giving way to Jaime Garcia to finish out the seventh for Toronto.

Cashner lasted six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, three walks, two strikeouts and two home runs on 97 pitches. His ERA is now 4.84 for the year.

Mike Wright worked around a walk in the seventh to pitch a scoreless inning and Mychal Givens followed him to the mound with a scoreless eighth. But the Orioles went down quietly in the ninth against Ken Giles on a line out by Joseph and consecutive groundouts by Mullins and Villar.

And Baltimore’s woes against Toronto continue. On this particular night, the Jays were just a bit better in the pitching and hitting departments, and they made quick work of the O’s. Dylan Bundy takes the mound tomorrow in game two of the series.