TORONTO - The Orioles still don’t have what it takes this year to win at Rogers Centre. An early lead tonight certainly wasn’t enough, as Kendrys Morales homered twice in Toronto’s series-opening 5-3 win in front of 25,031.
The Orioles (37-88) fall to 1-3 on this road trip and to 0-8 at Rogers Centre with two games remaining in the season series. Toronto is 10-1 on the season against the Orioles - its most wins against Baltimore since recording 15 in 2010. Toronto (56-69) snapped a four-game losing streak.
The Blue Jays are 22-32 (.407) at home versus every team other than the Orioles.
Orioles starter Andrew Cashner was sailing along early in this game. He needed just 34 pitches through the first three innings and he held a 1-0 lead. But Morales hit two homers over the next two innings, producing four runs and the Blue Jays led 5-1 after the fifth.
Morales hit a 2-1 fastball in the fourth down the right-field line to tie it 1-1. This one just got out at 343 feet for his 15th homer. Cashner stranded runners at second and third to end the frame.
But Toronto got four in the fifth off Cashner. No. 9 hitter Richard Ureña led off with a double and scored on Kevin Pillar’s double to left and it was a 2-1 Blue Jays lead. After a walk, Morales unloaded a long three-run homer to right-center for a 5-1 lead. He smoked a 2-0 fastball437 feet off an exit velocity of 109 mph. He had one homer this year versus the Orioles until getting two in two innings to produce his 22nd career multi-homer game.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the third against right-hander Marco Estrada. Jonathan Villar singled, went to second on Trey Mancini’s infield hit, stole third and scored on a Chris Davis sac fly. The Orioles could have had much more early in this game however. They stranded two runners each in the second, third and fourth.
Down by four, they cut the deficit to two in the sixth and knocked Estrada from the game. Renato Núñez led off with a solo homer to left-center. He hit his third with the Orioles. Later, back-to-back doubles by Craig Gentry and Caleb Joseph cut Toronto’s advantage to 5-3.
Cashner falls to 4-11 with an ERA of 4.84. He went six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs with three walks and two strikeouts on 97 pitches. He had given up just one homer over his last five starts until Morales got to him tonight. Cashner also had an ERA of 2.27 in five career outings versus Toronto entering this game.
Gentry went 3-for-4 with a double and two singles. The Orioles were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and they fall to 8-63 when they score three runs or less. They’ve scored just eight runs in four games on this trip.
As they try again to get a win in this ballpark on Tuesday night, right-hander Dylan Bundy (7-11, 4.99 ERA) faces right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-6, 5.13 ERA).
Manager Buck Showalter on Cashner: “He had probably three pitches he’d like to take back. You can’t. Sometimes at this level, it’s enough to be the difference. We still walked, what, four or five guys tonight? That’s something that’s been a challenge. We played a pretty crisp game otherwise. It was good to see Mike (Wright Jr.) get back on the horse. He’s gotten back to what made him pitch much better. That was a good clean inning for him. But Andrew just got some pitches where he didn’t want to throw them.”
Showalter on Toronto getting to Cashner the third time through the lineup: “I don’t know if that ... it depends on how you look at struggle, but I’m sure you’re looking at something statistically or analytically. I know how that thing works, but he pitched as good as you can pitch through the first four innings. It got away from him in the fifth and sixth, but if you’re a little more efficient and don’t walk a guy, it keeps that from happening. (Alex) Cobb went through a lineup three or four times, so if your stuff is good and your command and off-speed pitch is (good), it really doesn’t play into it.”
Showalter on being 0-8 in Toronto: “Yeah, it’s been a lot of close games. It’s a small separator, like today, where we weren’t able to do some of the things we’ve done in the past to get over that hump.”
Cashner on the four-run Toronto fifth and Morales’ homer: “Yeah, I think the game as a whole, I didn’t really locate or command my off-speed very well. I was trying to go sinker down and away and it just stayed middle. I have to do a better job executing. Kind of stop the bleeding and never let that happen in that inning.”
Did the Blue Jays make some adjustments on offense?: “I think they realized that I wasn’t really throwing my off-speed stuff for strikes. I think as the game went on, I started throwing my slider for a strike. But I didn’t really have a curveball and I didn’t really have a good changeup. So, for me, it’s I think you’ve got to get strike one, which I worked behind a lot of guys which allowed them to just sit fastball. I have to make a better adjustment.”
Cashner on Jays getting to him third time through the order. Any changes you can make on that?: “No. I think it’s just pitch execution.”
Gentry on having a big day in the loss: “Yeah, I mean, of course, the goal is to go out there and win every game. I swung the bat well tonight and happy about that, but at the same time, it’s a team game and we lost. It’s tough to hang your hat on that.”