Buehrle struggles as Blue Jays fall to Orioles

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 15, 2013
After nine straight unbeaten outings, Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle has thrown back-to-back clunkers. Miguel Gonzalez pitched 5 1-3 innings before leaving with a strained right groin, Danny Valencia hit a two-run double and the Orioles beat Buehrle and Toronto 3-1 on Sunday. Buehrle (11-9) went 6-0 with a 2.02 ERA in nine starts between July 25 and Sept. 4. His luck turned against the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday when he matched a season worst by giving up eight runs in four innings. He was better against Baltimore, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings, but didn't get much help from his offense. ''It was a battle for him today,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ''He kept the game in check without his best stuff.'' Buehrle failed to pitch into the sixth inning for the second straight start and has lost consecutive outings for the first time since July 12 and 20. ''I wasn't very pleased with myself,'' he said. Adam Lind hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays, who have lost five of six. Toronto lost for the 31st time this season when scoring first. The Orioles, who kept close in the AL wild-card race, won their first road series since taking two of three at San Francisco on Aug. 9-11. It was their first road series win against an AL opponent since winning two of three at Boston in early April. Baltimore came in batting .221 with runners in scoring position in the past 21 games, and went just 1 for 8 against Toronto. But the hit was a big one: Valencia's two-out double in the third. Valencia said he was determined to make amends after grounding out to end the first, stranding runners at first and second. ''Anytime you get a hit with runners in scoring position it's huge, especially with two outs,'' Valencia said. ''My at bat before that, I left two on in the same situation, so it was nice to come through and get those runs.'' Valencia has six RBIs in four games, one more run than he drove in during all of August. Baltimore slugger Chris Davis, who hit his 50th home run of the season Friday, went 0 for 3 and struck out twice. He also drew a bases-loaded walk. Gonzalez (10-7) set a career high in victories, but had to watch the final innings from the trainer's room. Orioles manager Buck Showalter and trainer Richie Bancells came to the mound after Gonzalez struck out Lind looking to begin the sixth. After a brief conversation, Gonzalez walked off and was replaced by rookie Kevin Gausman. ''We'll have a better idea tomorrow or the next day about the amount of soreness,'' Showalter said. ''Richie thinks it's a Grade 1 (strain), which is the least of them, but I would say he's in jeopardy of missing a start.'' Gonzalez came in 0-2 with a 7.48 ERA in his last four road starts but was sharp against Toronto, allowing one run and six hits. He walked none and struck out three. Brett Lawrie hit a two-out single off Francisco Rodriguez in the seventh and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a double, snapping an 0-for-18 slump. Lind was walked intentionally to load the bases before Tommy Hunter came on and struck out Moises Sierra. Hunter worked the eighth and Jim Johnson finished for his 45th save in 54 chances. Lind opened the scoring with a leadoff shot into the second deck in the second, his 21st homer. The Orioles answered in the third on Valencia's key double. An error, a double and a walk helped the Orioles load the bases in the fourth before Davis drew a two-out walk to force in a run. NOTES: Toronto OF Colby Rasmus, who homered both Friday and Saturday, was scratched from the lineup after complaining of general soreness. Rasmus, who was activated off the 15-day DL before Friday's game, was replaced by Davis. ... The Orioles and Blue Jays are both off Monday. Baltimore begins a three-game series at Boston on Tuesday, while Toronto welcomes the New York Yankees for three.
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