BALTIMORE (AP) — One of these days, Ubaldo Jimenez hopes to measure success by notches in the win column.
At this point in his horrid season, however, the Orioles right-hander will have to settle for gradual improvement.
Although Jimenez allowed only two runs in six innings, he was outpitched by Toronto’s Drew Hutchison in Baltimore’s 4-0 loss Friday night.
Jimenez (2-8) is 0-4 in six starts since May 8 and still hasn’t won a game at home. But he derived a measure of satisfaction from keeping the Orioles in the game until he walked off the mound for the last time.
“I was able to hang in for the team,” Jimenez said. “I was able to at least get a quality start.”
Jimenez, who signed a $50 million, four-year contract during the offseason, walked five. But after Juan Francisco homered to put Toronto up 2-0 in the second inning, Jimenez did not give up another hit until Adam Lind singled off the right field wall with two outs in the sixth.
His outing was a definite upgrade from his last start, when he yielded six runs in 2 1-3 innings against Oakland.
“I had a rough game before this one, so this is a good sign to be able to be there for the team,” Jimenez said.
Hutchison allowed five hits over seven innings, struck out three, walked none and permitted only one runner past second base. The right-hander is 1-3 with an 8.72 ERA at home and 4-1 with a 1.79 ERA on the road.
“It’s just worked out that way so far. It’s kind of one of those things,” Hutchison said of his imbalanced record. “I haven’t had many starts at home, so that might be part of it. But the rest of that, I could really care less as long as we’re going out there and giving the team a chance to win.”
Especially against the Orioles. Hutchison is 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA in five career starts against Baltimore.
“He’s pretty good against some other people,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter noted.
After Hutchison retired three straight batters in the seventh following a leadoff double by J.J. Hardy, a thunderstorm stopped play for 21 minutes.
When play resumed, Toronto scored twice in the eighth off Tommy Hunter on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Jose Bautista.
Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil left with a groin injury in the eighth inning. He was replaced by Dustin McGowan, who got five outs for his first major league save.
The victory snapped a three-game skid for the AL East-leading Blue Jays, who had lost five of six while being outscored 29-9.
“I felt like it was the toughest game to win all year, if you want to know the truth,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “We didn’t get many hits. We got the big home run, and of course we scratched out a couple late.”
Manny Machado had three hits for Baltimore, but the Orioles stranded nine and went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
The Blue Jays put runners on the corners with no outs in the first inning before Jimenez worked out of trouble. In the second, however, Francisco delivered Toronto’s major league leading 92nd home run after Brett Lawrie drew a walk.
That ended the Jays’ run of four straight games without a homer and snapped Baltimore’s streak of 43 innings without allowing a long ball. It also marked the first time in nine games that Toronto scored first.
After Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, Jonathan Schoop hit a fly to the warning track in center field.
Beginning with that out, Hutchison retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
NOTES: Orioles C Matt Wieters will have his ailing elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday, and season-ending surgery is a distinct possibility. “I hope we get some good news Monday, but we better prepare if it’s not,” Showalter said. Wieters has not played since May 10. … Bud Norris (3-1, 2.38 ERA at home) starts for the Orioles on Saturday against Toronto and right-hander R.A. Dickey. … Showalter said Machado’s suspension will not start this weekend, and it will likely go to the appeal process. Machado is challenging a five-game suspension for intentionally throwing his bat on the field.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)