Guthrie back in the rotation
It took about three weeks, but Jeremy Guthrie was able to make one more start for the Orioles before the end of the season. Unable to pitch because of a strained oblique, Guthrie shut out the Toronto Blue Jays through four innings, facing one batter more than the minimum, before the defense let him down in the fifth and caused him to exceed his pitch count. The Blue Jays scored three runs in the inning and added two more in the sixth off reliever Jim Hoey. Guthrie has seven no-decisions in his past nine starts.
One section of seats near the press box was transformed into a meeting spot for Josh Banks' fan club. Banks, who pitched at Severna Park, surrendered a two-run homer to Jay Payton in the second inning and allowed two more runs in the third. But he retired eight in a row as family and friends cheered his first major league start, and the right-hander was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings after rookie Luis Hernandez hit his first major league home run off Brian Tallet in the sixth to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead.
Not right in left
Payton had a good night at the plate, with three hits and three RBIs, but a forgettable one in the field. He reached for John-Ford Griffin's fly ball in the fifth, after the Blue Jays opened with back-to-back singles, and missed it. The play was ruled a double, and it allowed a run to score. With Hoey pitching in the sixth, Payton charged Griffin's line drive and appeared to catch it before the ball popped loose. Griffin was credited with an RBI, and Payton was charged with an error. The crowd gave him a mock ovation when he fielded a single later in the inning, and Payton tipped his cap.
The Orioles begin their last series of the season tonight, as the New York Yankees come to town, perhaps still sticky from Wednesday night's champagne celebration after clinching a playoff berth. Former Oriole Mike Mussina takes the mound for the Yankees. He has won three straight starts, allowing three runs in 19 2/3 innings. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Orioles on Sept. 18. Orioles starter Jon Leicester has lost his past two starts, though he went the distance this week in a 3-0 loss to the Texas Rangers.