Poor cutter command chases Gallardo in 5th

Poor cutter command chases Gallardo in 5th

TORONTO -- The fifth inning was crushing to the Orioles' hope of staying in first place on Saturday.

Starter Yovani Gallardo and reliever Mychal Givens combined to allowed seven runs to Toronto in that frame, paving the way for an ugly 9-1 series loss at the Rogers Centre that gave the Blue Jays the top spot in the American League East.

"He didn't have command of his cutter today. That was a challenge for him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You know, he was very close to getting out of that inning. He wiggled his way out of trouble [earlier]. It's a tough lineup. They're in a good place right now, and we will [be] again, but most of the game was [Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ]."

Gallardo escapes early jam

Gallardo, who was able to get out of the first inning despite a bases-loaded jam, wasn't nearly as successful in the fifth. Things started with Devon Travis' game-tying solo homer and got worse from there as Gallardo walked two and surrendered an RBI double to Edwin Encarnacion. Gallardo issued an intentional walk before exiting in favor of Givens in a 2-1 ballgame.

"I thought I made some pretty good pitches to [Jose] Bautista. Three-one changeup and 3-2 fastball were identical. I made a good pitch when I had to, it just unfortunately didn't go my way," Gallardo said of the fifth. "After that, I just kind of let things get in my head a little bit. The one to [Josh] Donaldson and threw one changeup to Encarncion, left it up. My command more than anything, falling behind guys in that situation. I just wasn't able to get ahead of guys, got a little bit away from the game plan I had a little that inning. Had a battle with my command there even since the first inning."

Givens issued a bases-loaded walk after that to score another run and allowed back-to-back RBI doubles to Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar. Toronto sent 11 guys to the plate in the frame.

Blue Jays' seven-run 5th inning

"I just didn't make quality pitches, and they just hit it where it was at," Givens said of what happened. "I just didn't get [them] over like I usually was and didn't make the quality pitch."

Orioles pitching has allowed 45 runs in six games in Toronto this season.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.