TORONTO ——Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie has said he's not concerned about losing 20 games this season, or, really, reaching double-digit wins before the year is over.
After Friday's 2-0 win at Rogers Centre, and with potentially three starts remaining, Guthrie still has a shot at either of those round numbers.
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Rogers Centre, 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto, ON M5V 1J1, Canada
Guthrie would have to lose all three of his remaining starts to become only the second Oriole in team history to drop 20 or more in a season, joining Don Larsen (21 in 1954).
Or he'd have to win every start to become the first Oriole to post four straight campaigns of 10 or more victories since Mike Mussina did it for nine straight seasons from 1992-2000.
"I think he is just going to go about doing his business," said catcher Matt Wieters. "That's one thing that's great about Guthrie. He's going to come in here ready to work every day. It doesn't matter if he is 2-20 or whether he is 15-3. He is going to get his work done and try to improve. "
Guthrie (7-17) was outstanding Friday, allowing two baserunners in the same inning just once -- the seventh, when he recorded two strikeouts before yielding a single and a walk. But he threw a 92-mph fastball past Kelly Johnson for the third out -- his fifth strikeout on his 104th and final pitch.
Pedro Strop threw a scoreless inning and Jim Johnson entered in the ninth to collect his fourth save. Regular closer Kevin Gregg had pitched 21/3 innings in the club's past two games, so Orioles manager Buck Showalter summoned Johnson, who has been effective most of the year.
"He needed a day off," Showalter said of Gregg. "And we are fortunate that we have people that can do it."
It was the Orioles' seventh shutout of the season and second on the road. It was the second time this season Orioles' pitchers have given up just three hits.
Guthrie and Toronto starter Brett Cecil, who faced each other Aug. 30 and received no-decisions in the Orioles' 6-5 win at Camden Yards, exchanged zeroes for five innings Friday. A former University of Maryland closer and Dunkirk native, Cecil allowed just one baserunner to reach second through five, but gave up a run in the sixth on a Vladimir Guerrero RBI single.
It was set up by Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson's throwing error on what should have been a double play, but Robert Andino's hard slide disrupted Johnson. J.J. Hardy advanced to second on the wild throw and then scored the unearned run.
The Orioles scored again on a groundout in the eighth, when Nick Markakis beat out a potential inning-ending double play by hustling to first while Ryan Adams scored.
Cecil (4-9) struck out the first two batters he faced Friday on his way to a season-high nine strikeouts. He allowed seven hits and a walk in 72/3 innings and received a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 13,918 when he exited.
"He was making good pitches. He wasn't throwing his fastball in fastball counts," Wieters said. "His changeup was real good and he kept us off-balance and we were able to scratch enough across to get a win."
Guthrie did achieve one milestone Friday. With a double play in the sixth -- one started by the athletic pitcher when he snagged a hard comebacker -- Guthrie officially totaled 1,000 innings for his career. He's the 1,150th pitcher to accomplish that in baseball history and the 72nd active pitcher with at least 1,000 career innings.
"A thousand innings is a lot. It shows that you are able to go out there, stay healthy and pitch a few years. Certainly if you asked me five years ago if I'd be happy pitching 1,000 innings in the big leagues, I absolutely would have thought that that would have been a goal that who knows if it would have been attainable. So it's very nice to go out there, and I hope to add another 1,000."
The Orioles just hope that Guthrie can pitch as he has in three of his past four starts. If he does, his win-loss record should be more palatable at the end of the month.
"He wants to win all of them and so do we," Showalter said. "He shares the same hope for how this season ends as we all do."
Notes: Third baseman Chris Davis was out of the starting lineup Friday after a three-hit game Thursday, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Davis' balky shoulder feels better than it has in weeks. He played three consecutive games after coming off the DL on Tuesday and is expected to play Saturday. … RHP Jason Berken's return to the club is imminent, Showalter said. Berken (forearm/elbow) has been on the disabled list since Aug. 22, but could join the club in Toronto or, more likely, in Baltimore for Monday's opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. … According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a team had beaten the same opponent in consecutive extra-inning games in different cities was in April 1900, when the Boston Beaneaters lost to the Philadelphia Phillies at home and on the road. The Orioles did it to the Yankees on Wednesday and Thursday. … Former Orioles right-hander Jesse Jefferson died Thursday at age 62 of prostate cancer. He pitched for five big league teams, including the Orioles from 1973 to 1975. He was 7-7 with a 4.13 ERA in 42 games with Baltimore. He was a resident of Midlothian, Va.
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