Nate McLouth immediately got into scoring position for the Orioles today with a leadoff double to center field, the ball clearing the fence on one bounce off the natural-surface warning track.
I guess it’s not a synthetic thing.
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow retired the next two batters, bringing Adam Jones to the plate.
Morrow could have pitched around Jones with first base open, but he challenged the center fielder. And he lost again.
Jones lined an RBI double to right field to briefly give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run homer off Josh Stinson in the top of the second.
(I’d like to hear a mound conversation between J.P. Arencibia and J.A. Happ. OK, I’d have to be pretty bored, but it happens.)
Jones is now 12-for-29 with three homers and 10 RBIs lifetime against Morrow.
Jones has reached base in all but one of the Orioles’ 21 games this season. He has at least one hit in 19 of them.
Stinson retired the Jays in order in the top of the first on 11 pitches. He walked Melky Cabrera with one out in the second and Arencibia crushed an 89-mph fastball on a 1-2 count to give Toronto the lead.
Down on the farm, Steve Johnson went five innings today in his first injury rehab start with Triple-A Norfolk. He allowed four runs and six hits, walked one, struck out three and served up a home run. Johnson threw 67 pitches, 44 for strikes.
Jason Pridie, batting leadoff again today, is 2-for-4 with an RBI to increase his average to .348.
Update: Rajai Davis homered off Stinson in the top of the third, but the Orioles reduced the Blue Jays’ lead to 3-2 in the bottom half on Nick Markakis’ RBI grounder.
Manny Machado, who reached on an error with one out, made a hard slide into second base to prevent a double play. McLouth scored after his one-out walk.
Update II: Stinson allowed two home runs in 22 1/3 major league innings before today. He’s allowed three over four innings to the Blue Jays.
Edwin Encarnacion led off the fourth with a ball hit so far, the outfielders barely turned to watch.
Tommy Hunter walked to the bullpen mound but didn’t warm up, as Stinson retired the last two batters after Arencibia’s one-out double.
Blue Jays 4, Orioles 2.
Update III: Stinson gave up his fourth home run, a leadoff shot by Jose Bautista in the sixth that was another no-doubter, and he came out of the game after 5 2/3 innings.
Stinson allowed five runs and five hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 76 pitches, 52 for strikes.
Hunter replaced Stinson and retired Arencibia to end the inning.
OK, it wasn’t a smashing debut, but Stinson got into the sixth and kept the Orioles within range against Morrow. On a getaway day and with a long West Coast trip on the horizon, it could have been much worse.
Much better, yes, but also much worse.
There are no guarantees that anyone else at Norfolk would have fared any better, unless you have a crystal ball. If so, don’t waste it on baseball.
Whether Stinson gets another start on Monday is another matter. I doubt that Showalter will reveal his plans this afternoon.
Jason Hammel was the last Orioles pitcher to allow four home runs in the same game, on May 30, 2012.