The Orioles had a chance to complete a three-game sweep of the last-place Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, but Jays right-hander Marco Estrada clearly had other ideas.
Estrada pitched a very strong 7 2/3 innings and tied a career high with 12 strikeouts on the way to a 3-1 victory before an announced 36,632 at Oriole Park.
The O's managed just five hits off Estrada and scored their only run in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Adam Jones, who had three of those hits. They had seven hits in all, including two each by Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo.
"He was on today,'' Jones said. "A lot of guys had some good at-bats. He was tough. You tip your cap to him and go on to the next day. … He's a good pitcher. He's not making a lot of money for no reason."
Estrada has pitched 20 2/3 innings against the Orioles in three starts this year and allowed just three runs. He's 5-1 lifetime against the O's.
Manager Buck Showalter said that the thing that makes him so tough is his terrific changeup, which he throws with a motion indistinguishable from his fastball and arrives a lot later.
"I think it's 22 or 23 of his first 45 pitches were changeups and it's not like nobody looks for it or sits on it,'' Showalter said. "But he's got such good command of the fastball. Probably threw four or five curveballs. About six cutter-sliders. And he's got great command. He has great presentation on the changeup. You talk to hitters and they're thinking about it, they're sitting on it. You've got to box one out because you can't hit both of them."
Not that the Jays did much against Orioles starter Wade Miley, who suffered one of the hardest of hard-luck losses. He pitched seven innings and did not allow an earned run, but an error by Jonathan Schoop with two outs in the first inning kept the door open long enough for the Jays to score three times on a home run by second baseman Devon Travis.
Manny Machado was hit on the hand by reliever Joe Smith in the bottom of the eighth but remained in the game.
The defense rests: The Orioles made three errors in their previous five games, but they matched that number in the first five innings on Sunday and one of those was very costly. Schoop had trouble corralling a routine grounder that would have ended the first inning and the misplay led to three runs.
Kendrys Morales was safe at first on the play and Justin Smoak followed with a soft single to right before Travis launched the first pitch he saw from Miley into the left-field bleachers for only his second home run of the year.
The Orioles entered the game ranked sixth in the majors in fewest errors, but they fell to 11th – at least temporarily – when Machado made a fielding error in the fifth.
Jones ties Palmeiro: When Jones homered off Estrada in the fourth inning, it was his 124th home run at Oriole Park, tying him with Rafael Palmeiro for the most by any player in the history of the ballpark.
It also was Jones seventh of the season and the 232nd of his career.
New thunder: Over the course of this past week, the Orioles have allowed eight home runs to players who entered the week with two or fewer home runs this season.
That's not to say that some of those players were not home run hitters. Five of those homers came from Tigers slugger Victor Martinez and injured outfielder J.D. Martinez, who came off a long stint on the disabled list to begin his season just four days before hitting three homers in the series against the Orioles.