BALTIMORE (AP) — Three starts into his four-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles, Ubaldo Jimenez is 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA.
Suffice to say the right-hander has yet to supply the proper return on his $50 million contract.
Jimenez allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings, and the Orioles fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 11-3 Sunday in the deciding matchup of a three-game series.
“I’ve been making too many mistakes right down the middle of the plate,” Jimenez lamented. “That’s something I have to work on.”
Asked if his slow start bothers him, Jimenez replied, “Yeah, of course. As a player, you want to win, you want to be there for your team. But I know it’s part of the game. I can’t give up, I can’t put my head down and feel sorry for myself.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter remains hopeful the right-hander will ultimately flash the form that enabled him to go 13-9 over 32 starts with Cleveland last year.
“If you look at his, kind of, history, he gets better as the year goes on,” Showalter said. “You trust the person and the character. He’s in good standing where that’s concerned. He’ll keep fighting. He’ll work his way through it.”
Chris Davis hit his first homer of the season for Baltimore, an eighth-inning drive off Esmil Rogers. Davis had a major league-leading 53 home runs last year.
“It feels good,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been swinging the bat good lately. I’ve been starting to come around a little bit.”
Matt Wieters also connected for the Orioles, who scored only five runs in the series.
Mark Buehrle allowed one run over seven innings to win his third straight start, and the Blue Jays hit three home runs and had a season-high 17 hits.
Jose Bautista hit a three-run drive and Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie had solo shots to help Toronto win the decisive matchup of the three-game series.
Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind each collected three hits for the Blue Jays, who enjoyed their highest scoring game of the year.
Buehrle (3-0) gave up five hits, walked none and struck out two. The left-hander has allowed only two runs in 21 innings, an 0.86 ERA.
“It means I’m getting really lucky and I’m fooling a lot of people,” Buehrle said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”
The Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead in the fourth. Lind walked on four pitches and took third when a ball girl near the left-field seats mistakenly gloved Encarnacion’s grounder inside the third base line. Dioner Navarro followed with a run-scoring groundout and Jonathan Diaz executed a perfect suicide squeeze on a pitch that came in at eye level.
Toronto pulled away with a five-run seventh, its biggest inning of the year. Lawrie hit a solo shot before Rasmus and Encarnacion hit two-run doubles off Josh Stinson.
Rasmus put Toronto up 1-0 in the first inning with his second home run in two games, a towering drive that became the 78th in the 23-year history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street beyond the right field wall.
Baltimore pulled even in the bottom half when Nick Markakis singled and scored on a groundout by Adam Jones. But the Orioles wasted a leadoff double by Steve Pearce in the second, leaving them 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
“As an offense, we definitely want to score some more runs early in the game,” Davis said. “When you go up there and put up a run early, you’ve got to continue to score runs. Tip your hat to Buehrle. He’s been around. He knows how to pitch. He used our aggressiveness against us today.”
NOTES: Toronto 2B Maicer Izturis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee. … The Blue Jays have Monday off before opening a three-game series in Minnesota. The Orioles send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against Tampa Bay. … Pearce became the final Orioles position player to get a start. … Jones reached on an infield single in the third inning for his 1,000th career hit. … Toronto’s Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 13 games, longest in franchise history to start a season. … Bautista has reached in all 13 games either by hit or walk. … Buehrle was 0-3 against Baltimore last year.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)