Toronto Blue Jays fall back to .500 mark

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

April 24 2014 ISN – TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays wasted a quality start by Drew Hutchison and fell back to the .500 mark by dropping an 11-4 decision to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.

Hutchison worked six solid innings and left the game with a 3-2 lead. The Orioles attacked the Toronto bullpen by scoring five runs in the seventh and adding four more in the eighth to turn the game into a rout.

Jonathan Schoop homered and David Lough had three of the Orioles’ 14 hits. Bud Norris (1-2) allowed five hits, three earned runs and a walk over six innings as Baltimore (11-10) took the rubber game of the three-game series.

Nelson Cruz scored twice and drove in two runs while Chris Davis and Adam Jones had three RBIs apiece. Dioner Navarro and Colby Rasmus homered for the Blue Jays (11-11), who had seven hits on the night.

The Blue Jays nearly opened the scoring in the first inning. Melky Cabrera reached on a walk and got the wave home when Edwin Encarnacion hit a double off the wall in left field. Cabrera was tagged out by Matt Wieters on a close play at the plate.

Wieters picked up Baltimore’s first hit in the next inning with a one-out double off Hutchison. The 23-year-old right-hander, who had nine strikeouts for the second straight game, responded by fanning J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty.

Navarro put the Blue Jays on the board in the bottom half of the frame with a solo shot for his first homer of the season. Juan Francisco followed with a single and scored when Rasmus belted a two-run blast.

Baltimore put runners in scoring position in the third inning when Lough singled and moved to third on a ground-rule double by Cruz. Hutchison ended the threat by getting Davis to ground out.

With Cabrera on base after a leadoff single, Bautista nearly padded the lead with a rainbow drive to deep left field.

Lough jumped against the wall and made a nice catch to retire the Jays slugger. Edwin Encarnacion then hit into an inning-ending double play.

Hutchison gave up a ground-rule double in the fourth inning to Hardy but got out of trouble again by striking out Flaherty.

The Orioles finally got to Hutchison in the fifth when Schoop opened the frame with a solo homer. Lough reached on a walk, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on a Davis single.

Hutchison struck out Jones to get out of the frame with the lead intact.

Norris, meanwhile, settled down after his rough second inning. He faced the minimum 11 batters until hitting Encarnacion with a pitch in the sixth inning.

In the seventh, Neil Wagner gave up a one-out double to Lough before being pulled for Brett Cecil (0-1), who walked Nick Markakis and then gave up a double steal. Cecil intentionally walked Cruz and Davis followed with a single that brought two runs home.

Cecil was pulled for Esmil Rogers, who promptly gave up a single to Wieters that allowed two more runs to cross.

Bautista had an RBI single in the eighth inning and has now reached base in all 22 games this season. Announced attendance was 16,283 and the game took two hours 54 minutes to play.

Notes: The Blue Jays challenged a hit batsman call in the eighth inning. After a review of almost two minutes, the call stood. … Toronto will close out its six-game homestand with a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox. Left-hander Mark Buehrle (4-0) is scheduled to start Friday night against Boston’s Jake Peavy (0-0). … Toronto fell to 4-5 at Rogers Centre this season.

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