Toronto’s Brett Cecil and Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie locked horns in an unlikely pitching duel at the Rogers Centre on Friday night.
But Guthrie benefitted from a little run support as Nick Markakis and Vladimir Guerrero both had two hits and an RBI each and the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 2-0.
Guthrie (7-17) limited Toronto to only three hits over seven innings, struck out five and issued three walks. Jim Johnson picked up his fourth save of the season for the Orioles (58-85).
Cecil (4-9) extended his winless streak to eight games but had a season-high nine strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays (72-73). The 25-year-old lefty gave up seven hits, two runs, one earned run and one walk.
“That’s the guy we’ve seen from time to time and tonight was a very strong performance on his part,” Jays manager John Farrell said. “He just happened to be pitching on the wrong day.”
Game not as advertised
It was expected to be a longball affair with both the Jays and the Orioles in the top five among the majors in homers. Guthrie had given up a team-high 24 home runs this season and Cecil had given up at least one homer in 14 of his last 17 starts this season.
Neither pitcher gave up a home run Friday.
Baltimore’s Robert Andino started the sixth with a leadoff single and J.J. Hardy grounded into a fielder’s choice but reached second on a throwing error by Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson. Guerrero delivered a line drive to left field to snap the scoreless tie.
In the eighth inning, Ryan Adams singled to centre and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Hardy flared to right to put runners on the corners.
Markakis grounded the ball right to Johnson but beat the double play throw and Adams scored to put the Orioles up 2-0.
The closest the Jays came was in the bottom of the eighth when Pedro Strop relieved Guthrie and with one out, pinch hitter Mark Teahen grounded to third but reached first on Mark Reynolds’ throwing error.
DeWayne Wise ran for Teahen and stole second. Yunel Escobar walked but Eric Thames grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
“The key double play there in the eighth inning against Strop was the one legitimate and true opportunity that we had to try to mount something,” Farrell said. “But in the end they snuffed any opportunity we had.”
Johnson came in to pitch the ninth and walked Bautista but got the next three batters out on grounders to end the game.
Notes: DH Edwin Encarnacion left the game with an undisclosed injury and will be re-evaulated Saturday morning. He was replaced by David Cooper … Centre-fielder Colby Rasmus, on the DL with an injured right wrist, will DH for New Hampshire AA on Saturday and Sunday then rejoin the Jays for Tuesday’s game in Boston … The last time the Orioles won a season series against the Jays was in 2004. Since then, Jays have won 77 of 126 meetings.