TORONTO (AP) — Brian Matusz was disappointed after losing his 11th straight decision.
The long-suffering Baltimore left-hander pitched better than in his first start, but simply wasn’t good enough to win.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer, Brett Lawrie added a solo shot and the Toronto Blue Jays used a seven-run sixth inning to beat the Orioles 9-2 on Sunday.
Matusz (0-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and saw losing streak hit 11, the longest active run of defeats in the majors.
“It’s so frustrating,” Matusz said. “I know what went on last year, I know it was a horrible year and so far I’m off to a horrible start. It’s building up and it’s frustrating. I’m just flat-out not getting the job done.”
Matusz, who walked four and struck out four, has not won since June 6, 2011, against Oakland. He was 1-9 in 12 starts last season.
“His fastball command is still not quite where it needs to be,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He had some counts he couldn’t quite put guys away.”
Matusz was chased after giving up four runs in four innings in Monday’s start against the Yankees. The former first round pick fell to 0-3 with a 13.09 ERA in four career starts against Toronto.
“I was really erratic out of the windup today, never found a rhythm,” he said. “At times when I got ahead in the count, I
didn’t make a quality pitch to finish it.”
That was the case in Toronto’s seven-run sixth. Matusz got ahead 0-2 on Jose Bautista, who led off with a double, and again on Encarnacion, who drilled a two-run homer to left as Toronto took the lead for good.
“We had the momentum going and they jumped right back on top with a big inning,” Matusz said. “Things like that can’t happen. We’re too good of a team to let that happen.”
After winning the first two games of the series, it was a disappointing finale for the Orioles, who gave up more runs in one
inning than they had allowed in any game so far this season.
“We needed this sweep,” Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones said. “We wanted this sweep. It’s still awesome winning a series here since we hadn’t won one since `08. But you get two, you want the three. You want to stomp on their throats.”
Yunel Escobar had three hits and drove in two runs and right-hander Kyle Drabek won his consecutive starts for the first
time in his career as the Blue Jays avoided what would have been their first three-game sweep by Baltimore since April 2005.
“Drabek is nasty,” Jones said. “He’s got good stuff. He’s was just pounding the strike zone.”
Drabek (2-0) allowed one earned run and six hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Encarnacion reached base four times, drove in two runs and scored twice. Lawrie had two hits and three RBIs.
Luis Perez got two outs in the eighth and fellow lefty Evan Crawford made his major league debut in a scoreless ninth.
Baltimore took the lead in the second on Ronny Paulino’s RBI groundout. Toronto tied it in the fourth when Lawrie hit his first homer of the season.
The Orioles reclaimed the lead in the sixth when Jones hit his third home run, a drive off the facing of the third deck in left.
“Crushed it,” Jones said. “Point blank.”
Toronto broke open the game in the bottom half, sending 13 batters to the plate. After Encarnacion’s homer, Ben Francisco singled and Rajai Davis walked before Orioles manager Buck Showalter replaced Matusz with former Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg, who was booed as he took the mound.
Jeff Mathis greeted Gregg with an RBI single, Escobar followed with a two-run double and Kelly Johnson also doubled. Gregg walked Bautista and Escobar to load the bases for Lawrie, who drove in the seventh run of the inning when he was hit on the left shoulder.
“(Gregg) made some mistakes and paid the price for it,” Showalter said.
Gregg finally ended the inning when Francisco, the seventh batter he faced, flied out.
Toronto added one more against Troy Patton in the eighth when Encarnacion hit a two-out double and scored on Lawrie’s single.
NOTES: Baltimore C Matt Wieters got his first day off this season. He was replaced by Paulino. … The Orioles fell to 5-1
when scoring first. … Baltimore DH Nick Johnson was hit on the left arm by a pitch in the eighth, but stayed in the game. …Seven of Encarnacion’s 11 hits this season have extra-base hits. … Toronto has not been swept at home since June 10-12, 2011, when they dropped three straight to Boston.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)