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Blue Jays held to 5 hits in 2-1 loss to Orioles

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tommy Hunter follows through on a pitch in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Baltimore, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tommy Hunter follows through on a pitch in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Baltimore, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer / April 24, 2012
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BALTIMORE—After their frolic in Kansas City, the Toronto Blue Jays got nothing but grief at Camden Yards.

The Blue Jays managed only five hits, wasted a fine pitching performance by Henderson Alvarez and gave up the decisive run on a homer that bounced off the glove of left-fielder Eric Thames.

It all added up to a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.

Coming off a four-game sweep of the Royals, Toronto was looking to build on its 6-1 road record. Instead, the Blue Jays lost to the Orioles for the third time in four games over a 12-day span.

Long after the final pitch, Thames was staring into his locker. His head was lowered, and he couldn't bring himself to peel off any part of his uniform except for his jersey.

He didn't care that his long home run accounted for all of Toronto's offense. What mattered was that he had chance to catch a drive to left field by Matt Wieters and couldn't bring the ball down.

With the score tied at 1 in the fourth inning, Wieters hit an opposite-field liner that Thames tracked on the run. As he leaped to make the catch, his upper body hit the wall and the ball bounced off his glove and into the stands.

"I was at the top of the wall and I reached up to catch it and it was off my glove and into the seats. It's as simple as that," Thames said. "It all happened so fast. In my glove. I heard the crowd and I looked up saw it was in the seats. Of course, intense anger."

It turned out to be last run in an intense pitching duel between Baltimore's Tommy Hunter and Alvarez.

"Off the bat I had a feeling it was going to be one that I had a chance to rob, and it was," Thames said. "Didn't bring it down."

Wieters didn't really care how it got over the wall.

"It's nice to get a little help," he said. "I don't think anyone will remember that in a few years. Any help I can get, I'll take."

Hunter (2-1) allowed one run, three hits and three walks in six innings. The only runner to get past first base against the right-hander was Thames.

The four relievers who followed allowed two hits and a walk, including Pedro Strop, who pitched the ninth for his first career save. Baltimore's usual closer, Jim Johnson, spent Monday night in a hospital and remained there Tuesday with flulike symptoms and was unavailable.

Alvarez (0-2) took the loss despite allowing five hits over seven innings.

"He pitched exceptionally well. He did his job," Toronto manager John Farrell said.

Alvarez deserved better, but it's tough to win when your offense doesn't put a single runner in scoring position. And, of course, there was that play by Thames.

"It's one of the breaks that didn't go our way," Farrell said.

After Wieters' homer, the Orioles didn't get a runner past first base the rest of the way. But it didn't matter, because the Blue Jays were unable to score more than one run for the first time this season.

Leadoff batters in an inning were 1 for 19 against Alvarez until Endy Chavez opened the game with a single. The Orioles subsequently loaded the bases with no outs but scored only one run, on a double-play grounder by Adam Jones.

Thames led off the third with his first home run, a shot to right field that landed on Eutaw Street in front of the B&O Warehouse.

NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Orioles LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, who's been on the DL since the start of the season, "has an elbow issue, problems with the ligament. ... We will contemplate, along with him, what the next direction (is) to take. But it showed some damage in there with the ligament that didn't show up in the physical he took when he signed." ... Baltimore signed utility player Bill Hall to a minor league contract. Hall was released by the Yankees earlier this month. ... The Orioles intend to place 2B Robert Andino on the paternity leave list on Wednesday and probably keep him there on Thursday. Andino was expected to leave the team after Tuesday's game to join his pregnant wife in Florida. ... Baltimore LHP Jason Hammell (2-0, 2.37 ERA) faces Toronto RHP Kyle Drabek (2-0, 2.00 ERA) on Wednesday. ... The Blue Jays were seeking to move six games over .500 on the road for the first time since 2003.

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