Blue Jays survive Orioles' rally after Hutchison's gem
By Jamie Ross and Dan Toman
TORONTO -- Drew Hutchison delivered a stellar eight-inning performance and the Blue Jays fought off a late Orioles charge to take a 7-6 victory on Thursday at Rogers Centre.
After Hutchison's night ended, the bullpen nearly blew a five-run lead in the ninth. Liam Hendriks allowed three hits before he was lifted with one out in favour of closer Miguel Castro, who promptly surrendered a three-run shot to Manny Machado, his second homer of the game.
Hutchison retired the first 15 batters he faced before Machado spoiled Hutchison's perfect game with a home run to lead off the sixth. There wasn't much more Baltimore could do to rattle the 24-year-old, who went on to allow two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.
"Felt like I did a good job of being aggressive in the zone," Hutchison said. "Got a good tempo going and rhythm and the ball was coming out good. I was able to pound my fastball early and get ahead of guys, and that was the difference."
Orioles starter Chris Tillman was shelled for seven earned runs over 4 1/3 innings, with Josh Donaldson and Kevin Pillar each recording two RBIs as the Blue Jays posted three-spots in the third and fourth innings.
"We needed that," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of his club's sweep. "You always want to get off to a good competitive start, at least hold your own, until you get some games under your belt. The way we finished against the defending champs, they're always battles when we play those guys, but to win these last three, it salvaged [the homestead]. It turned out to be 5-5 but you win the last three and look at it totally different."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Donaldson's towering blast: Donaldson's fourth homer of the season -- a two-run shot to left in the third -- measured a whopping 481 feet, according to MLB.com's Gameday, which makes it the farthest home run hit in the Majors this season. Donaldson added a double in the fifth -- his team-leading sixth of the year -- before finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored to improve his season slash line to .349/.400/.635.
Machado changes the narrative: The Orioles third baseman broke up a perfect game with one homer and turned a rout into nail-biter with his second, his 2-for-4, four-RBI performance nearly carrying Baltimore all the way back from the 7-0 deficit it faced in the sixth. More >
Eight strong: Hutchison became the first Blue Jays starter this season to pitch beyond the seventh and only the second pitcher in the Majors to retire the first 15 batters he faced. He was extremely efficient in his fourth start, needing 100 pitches to work through eight frames while denying a free pass for the first time this year. The right-hander threw 64 of his pitches for strikes. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Orioles starting pitchers have not logged six innings in over a week -- a span of eight games.
"Guys are frustrated. And I'm frustrated for them, not with them." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on his rotation's inability to pitch deep into games
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (0-1, 3.26 ERA) will be in search of his first win of the season Friday when the Blue Jays open a three-game set against the Rays at 7:10 p.m. ET in St. Petersburg. Dickey, whose previous outing marked the first time a Toronto starter had completed seven innings, lines up opposite Tampa Bay left-hander Drew Smyly, who's making his first start after opening the season on the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis.
Orioles: The Orioles return home Friday to open a three-game series against the Red Sox at Camden Yards. Baltimore visited Boston a week ago and took two of three games at Fenway Park. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will make the start in the opener, set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Gonzalez allowed three earned runs on five hits over five innings his last time out, which came at Boston on April 19.