BALTIMORE – The Drew Hutchison Road Show enjoyed another successful stop, this time at Camden Yards in front of an unappreciative sellout crowd.
Hutchison scattered six hits over seven innings in another sparkling outing on the road, and the Toronto Blue Jays got a two-run homer from Juan Francisco in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
Hutchison (5-4) 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.
Hutchison outpitched Ubaldo Jimenez (2-8), who allowed two runs and three hits in six innings but fell to 0-6 at home.
“I was able to hang in for the team,” Jimenez said. “I was able to at least get a quality start.”
The difference was Francisco’s 11th home run, a second-inning drive into the Baltimore bullpen following a walk to Brett Lawrie.
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.
“Just right now it just feels kind of tight,” Cecil said.
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.”
Jimenez was seeking his first win at Camden Yards since signing a $50 million, four-year contract during the off-season. He walked five but, after Francisco homered, the right-hander did not give up another hit until Adam Lind singled off the right-field wall with two outs in the sixth.
“That’s something that I need to still work on it,” Jimenez said, referring to his walk total. “But I was good. I was OK.”
Orioles starters have allowed two runs or fewer in 12 of the last 15 games.
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.
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 centre field.
“I thought I made a lot of really good pitches in that inning,” Hutchison said. “They just happened to place a couple in a couple really good spots, and I was able to bear down and make a pitch to get out of it.”
Beginning with that out, Hutchison retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
© 2014 The Canadian Press