"I knew I needed to go out there and pitch deep into the game and give my team a little confidence -- and not doing that it is pretty upsetting personally," said Arrieta, who lasted 4 1/3 innings and hasn't won in his last five decisions. "Especially when I know the way I can throw and I know I can do it on a consistent basis. Not doing it for several starts now, it hurts. It hurts my team."
After retiring six straight to start the game, Arrieta ran into trouble in the third, allowing the first three batters to reach base -- the third on a throwing error of his own. With Brett Lawrie and David Cooper at first and second, respectively, Rajai Davis laid down a bunt that Arrieta fielded and threw away, which allowed Lawrie to come around and score. Arrieta admitted that Davis' speed was on his mind and may have played a factor on his botched throw. Cooper then scored on a groundout from Yunel Escobar that gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.
Toronto would add three more in the fourth before chasing Arrieta from the game in the fifth inning. Arrieta left with two runners on and was relieved by Miguel Gonzalez, who was making his Major League debut, but things didn't get better from there.
Gonzalez allowed both inherited runners to score in addition to one of his own in another three-run inning -- the second consecutive frame that the Blue Jays sent eight men to the plate -- that put Toronto ahead, 8-1.
Arrieta fell to 2-6 and has not won since beating the Yankees on May 2. He surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- while walking three and striking out five.
"Fastball command got away from him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Arrieta, which was the same thing he said plagued starter Tommy Hunter on Monday night. "If you don't get some more depth out of your starters, you are going to, one, struggle to win and you are going to constantly be making some changes to keep your bullpen intact."
The fifth inning, meanwhile, didn't come without controversy.
Gonzalez, who settled down and struck out five over 3 1/3 innings, threw two pitches to Davis that appeared to be very close to the strike zone, but were called balls. Davis ended up cashing in Lawrie with a single up the middle to keep Toronto's inning alive. After Lawrie scored on the play, Matt Wieters got into an argument with home-plate umpire Doug Eddings, and after a brief altercation, Wieters was ejected.
"I felt like that inning, we threw some good pitches that he didn't call strikes on some pitches that had been getting called strikes earlier in the game, and you can't argue balls and strikes, so I had to sit in here," Wieters said. "There were some calls earlier that I thought went their way that were close calls, but at the same time, I thought we had a pretty big zone all night. ... He gave me plenty of rope. ... You can't argue balls and strikes, and it's something where I knew might be going there [getting ejected], but I still had to say my piece."
While Wieters was watching from inside the clubhouse, the Orioles chipped away for three in the sixth, highlighted by Chris Davis' opposite-field two-run blast off Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero to cut the lead to 8-4. It was Davis' fourth homer in his past 12 games and after going 3-for-5, he increased his average to .422 over that stretch and .315 overall on the year.
Baltimore would then make the game even more suspenseful by mounting a ninth-inning rally for the second consecutive night.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy led off the frame with a single off Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen and after Janssen retired Nick Markakis, Adam Jones stepped up to the plate -- already with one homer under his belt after an opposite-field drive off Romero in the second. Jones hit another home run, a two-run shot to left that went out in a hurry and cut Toronto's lead to 8-6.
Janssen would allow the next two batters to reach base before retiring Davis and Wilson Betemit to end the game.
Jones reached base in every plate appearance and extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games, which is the longest streak in the Majors this season. His multihomer effort was the second of his career and first since May 12, 2009, against Tampa Bay.
"I don't care what I've heard about his last start or his previous 40 starts -- I couldn't care less, the guy is nasty every time he takes the mound, " Jones said about Romero, who improved to 6-1. "Me and him have a personal vendetta against each other, which is part of the game. He is the ace of the staff, and he's doing what they pay him to do."
Romero allowed four runs on six hits, while lasting six innings, walking one and striking out seven.
"I thought he attacked the strike zone much better than the last three or four times out," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said about Romero, who issued a career-high seven walks his prior outing. "Overall, a very good step in the right direction for Ricky tonight."