Bautista returns, but Blue Jays lose to Orioles

Bautista returns, but Blue Jays lose to Orioles

Bautista returns, but Blue Jays lose to Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Jose Bautista made his return on Friday night, but it was the Orioles' Chris Davis who stole the spotlight at Camden Yards.

The Blue Jays were defeated by a one-man wrecking crew who recorded three home runs in one game for the first time in his career.

Right-hander Carlos Villanueva surrendered two of the homers to Davis while Steve Delabar served up another one as the Blue Jays fell 6-4 to the Orioles to extend their losing streak to six games.

"He had a good day and he's capable of doing that," Villanueva said. "Make some mistakes and he did what he's supposed to do with them, especially with the last two. He won them the ballgame, as simple as that."

The damage began in the second inning as Davis sent a first-pitch fastball over the wall in right. The ball traveled out of the stadium and onto the neighboring Eutaw St., which marked the 66th time in Camden Yards history that has occurred.

Villanueva then went into cruise control until Davis came up for the second time in the fourth inning, getting hold of a hanging 2-2 curveball and once again sending it over the wall in right to record a multi-homer game for just the second time in his career.

The damage continued in the sixth as Villanueva surrendered a sacrifice fly to Matt Wieters, but was pulled just prior to Davis' third at-bat of the game. Delabar came on, but the result was still the same as Davis sent an 0-1 fastball to the opposite field for a two-run shot.

It was the 16th time in Blue Jays' history that an opposing player had a three-homer game. It was also the 19th time in Baltimore's history the feat had been accomplished, and the first since Nick Markakis did it on Aug. 26, 2006.

"I thought they were all needed," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's not like they were pile-on runs. It was runs we knew we were probably going to need."

Villanueva was charged with four of the runs on five hits while striking out four and walking one in 5 2/3 innings. He departed after 101 pitches as the Blue Jays continue to have a quick hook with one of their most consistent pitchers of late.

The organization's belief is that the 100-pitch plateau for Villanueva represents his ceiling. They believe the quality of his stuff begins to drop off around that number, and with Davis due up and power hitting Mark Reynolds not far behind, manager John Farrell opted for a hard-throwing arm out of his bullpen.

It's the type of philosophy that Villanueva seems to have taken issue with in the past few weeks. He reiterated again on Friday night that he felt strong at the end of his outing and could have kept going deeper into the game.

"In the first inning I threw over 20 pitches probably, but they wait me out well, they put the ball in play," Villanueva said of his pitch count.

"But it had no issue. If you ask me, I never want to come out of the game. If you ask me, how would I have done the third time against him? I would have probably punched him out. But that's if you ask me. But you have to respect authority, they make the call and that's it."

Villanueva has now lost four consecutive decisions, despite having surrendered three runs or less in all but one of those games. The main reason has been a lack of run support, which has plagued all Toronto pitchers of late.

The Blue Jays' offense was quiet yet again during the early stages of Friday's game. Kelly Johnson recorded an RBI single in the second and Rajai Davis added an RBI double in the seventh, but that was all the club could generate off left-hander Zach Britton, who allowed four hits while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.

Jeff Mathis led a late charge in the ninth inning with a two-run shot to left. The rally meant the Blue Jays surpassed three runs for the first time in eight games. That falls one game short of the club record for longest streak of three runs or less, last done in 2009.

Toronto hopes Bautista will help turn those fortunes around. On this night, he went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts in his first game since suffering a left wrist injury on July 16. It might take a little while to get his timing back, but Farrell liked what he saw from Bautista in the return.

"He swung the bat consistent, with what we've seen in the past in terms of aggressiveness, bat speed, all of that," Farrell said. "But we certainly temper our expectations after the amount of time that he has missed, the number of games that he has missed. The fact that he's back with us is the most important thing right now."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.