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Late rally not enough in 7-6 loss to Blue Jays as Orioles drop fourth straight

TORONTO — The Orioles couldn't get out of Canada soon enough after their 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.

After not having a base runner over the first five innings, the Orioles charged back late, nearly erasing a five-run ninth-inning deficit by coming within a run on Manny Machado's second homer of the night. But the result was unchanged: a disappointing loss that sealed a three-game sweep by the Blue Jays.

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In their three games here, the Orioles were outhit, outpitched, beaten and bullied inside Rogers Centre. It marked the first time the Orioles had been swept on the road since their three-game interleague series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in August.

The Orioles (7-9) extended their season-high losing streak to four games, their first such skid since May 27-30, and went 2-5 on their seven-game road trip to Boston and Toronto.

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"We're already putting it behind us," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We have to. You certainly learn from your mistakes, get better and don't repeat them. Believe me, there's a lot of guys with a lot of pride, and they know we're capable of better, and I trust them."

The Orioles haven't been two games under .500 since 12 games into the 2014 season, when they were 5-7. And while this season is just 16 games old, the way the Orioles played this week in Toronto was atypical of their winning ways for the past three seasons.

Showalter often talks about how his team has a smaller margin for error than most of its American League East opponents. The Orioles have to do the little things better.

On Thursday, as the Blue Jays circled the bases, the Orioles missed cut-off throws from the outfield, failing to keep runners from advancing. And in the series, they lost their cool, made fielding miscues and lacked fundamentals, all normally strengths under Showalter.

"There's been some really good things done fundamentally," Showalter said. "Sometimes you're trying too much. Obviously, we have some new personnel, and they're trying to feel their way around some things, and they've already been contributors. That's on all of us.  Certainly, things get magnified when you have a spurt or a section of a season where you're not doing things enough to win a ballgame."

The Orioles, in the midst of a season-opening stretch in which they play 19 straight games against American League East rivals, went 2-5 on their seven-game road trip to Boston and Toronto. They also lost five of six games against the Blue Jays (9-7) in the season's first month.

Their loss Thursday marked the first sweep by a division opponent since their chase for the 2013 postseason died in a four-game sweep in Tampa Bay on Sept. 20-23, 2013.

"It was a tough day," Machado said. "We come in here and we lose three. It's something that we didn't want to do. But they hit the ball; we didn't. They came up clutch. It was a little too late. … Tomorrow's another day, and we'll continue."

Orioles ace Chris Tillman had his second straight rough outing against Toronto, allowing seven runs over 4 1/3 innings. Tillman also yielded seven runs in an ugly 2 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards on April 12, and his ERA against Toronto in those two appearances is 18.00. Tillman's ERA in his other two starts this season is 1.50.

The Orioles haven't recorded a start of six or more innings in the past eight games, compiling an ERA of 5.35 in that span.

Tillman (2-2) issued five walks Thursday, with three of those batters eventually coming in to score.

"It killed me," Tillman said of the walks. "Other than a few pitches, I feel like I beat us tonight. I walked way too many and I fell behind way too much, and like I said, even when you fall behind and make a pitch, it really doesn't mean anything. You've got to get ahead, stay consistent in the strike zone and have some quick innings to give your guys a chance."

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The Blue Jays took a quick 3-0 lead in the third inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Toronto second baseman Devon Travis hit a grounder to Chris Davis at first, but Davis hesitated before throwing home, allowing former Oriole Danny Valencia to score from third.

Two pitches later, Josh Donaldson launched a hanging breaking ball off the facade of the dome's second deck for a two-run homer, giving Toronto a three-run lead.

Tillman opened the fourth inning with back-to-back walks to Justin Smoak and Russell Martin. Two batters later, Valencia doubled into the left-center-field gap to score Smoak, and No. 9 hitter Kevin Pillar hit a two-run double that knocked off the third base bag and skipped into right field. Martin added an RBI double in the fifth.

Toronto starter Drew Hutchison carried a perfect game into the sixth inning before allowing a leadoff home run to Machado, who recorded his third career multihomer game.

Machado, who was 5-for-10 in the series, opened the top of the sixth by lining a first-pitch fastball over the left-field fence to break up Hutchison's bid for a perfect game, no-hitter and shutout.

Designated hitter Travis Snider drove in two runs for the Orioles, including an RBI single in the ninth. Adam Jones had two hits and two runs.

"You can't win them all," Machado said. "You've just got to grind. It's a long season. People get tired. There are days that you don't have your stuff. You don't get hits. You've got to tip your cap off to Hutchison. He threw a hell of a game. He threw the ball well. There's nothing you can do about it."

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