BALTIMORE — Ubaldo Jimenez had his troubles with issuing walks again Friday, but still delivered a start comparable to those his fellow starters have pitched this week.
The Baltimore Orioles right-hander only gave up two runs on six innings, one outing after his shortest start of the year. But Jimenez didn't get the run support necessary to come away with his first win since May 8.
The lineup struggled against Toronto starter Drew Hutchison and the Orioles fell 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 44,031 at Camden Yards.
"We just couldn't get anything going off him," Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph said. "Ubaldo pitched great, but their guy pitched just a little bit better."
Jimenez (2-8) wasn't nearly as bad as he has been at times early in the season. Both runs he gave up came in the top of the second. With one out, Jimenez walked Brett Lawrie and then surrendered a two-run homer to Juan Francisco.
It didn't appear Francisco hit the ball well enough for it to clear the fence, but it carried to left-center and into the Orioles' bullpen.
Jimenez only gave up three hits, but walks were again an issue. He matched his season-high with five, which he has now done five times this season.
"I was trying to be too fine with it and that's where the walks came," Jimenez said. "All in all, I think I was pounding the strike zone. Take away those five walks to those guys and I felt good."
It was just the sixth time in 14 starts this season that Jimenez has completed six innings. In his previous start, he gave up six runs in just 2 1-3 innings against Oakland.
The Orioles (34-32) have lost 11 of the 14 games started by Jimenez. He also hasn't been getting much help from his offense while he is in the game.
"No matter how he pitched, we didn't score any runs," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "And I thought he gave us a good chance to win a baseball game."
It was the fifth straight game that an Orioles starter pitched at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs.
Hutchison (5-4) allowed Baltimore to get baserunners each of the first four innings, but kept the Orioles from coming through with a big hit. Baltimore scattered nine hits and left nine runners on base.
"He had really good stuff tonight," Joseph said. "He's got a good angle on his ball, so it kind of starts out behind you and then he's able to kind of sink it."
The Jays starter pitched six scoreless innings, striking out three.
Manny Machado was 3 for 4 with a double and J.J. Hardy was 2 for 4 with a double.
Baltimore's best chance to score came in the fourth. After Nelson Cruz reached on a fielder's choice, Hardy and Machado both singled to load the bases.
But Jonathan Schoop flew out to Toronto center fielder Anthony Gose to end the inning.
Hardy led off the seventh with a double, immediately after a flash of lightning. As thunder and lightning continued, Machado, Schoop, and Joseph all flew out to center and Baltimore again failed with a runner in scoring position.
Entering the eighth, the game was stopped due to the storm. But it was a short delay, lasting just 21 minutes.
Baltimore nearly loaded the bases again in the bottom half of the inning after a pair of one-out singles from Steve Pearce and Adam Jones. But Chris Davis struck out and Cruz grounded out on a close play at first that needed an instant-replay review to confirm it.
The Orioles gained ground on first-place Toronto Thursday, but fell back to 4 1-2 games behind Friday with two more games against the Jays. Jimenez did his share to try to move Baltimore within 2 1-2 games of Toronto but again, the run support wasn't there for the right-hander.
"The games he has really pitched well, we don't score runs for him," Joseph said.
"We're trying out there as best as we can to win the game. He's giving us a chance, so we have a chance."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun