PHILADELPHIA –- After three wins in four games against the frightful Philadelphia Phillies, the Orioles can turn their attention to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Orioles and Blue Jays play three games this weekend at Rogers Centre, where Toronto won all three in April.
Those games may be emotional, and they’re likely to be more competitive than the four games were against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Actually one game was competitive, and the Orioles lost it 2-1 on Thursday before 26,220 at Citizens Bank Park.
In the first three games the teams played this week, the Orioles outscored the Phillies 29-7.
Manny Machado hit a leadoff home run against Sean O’Sullivan, but the Orioles (34-32), who had won 11 of 13, never scored again.
"It's been a tough four games, four days. Anytime you play a team four times in a row, you never like to see that on a schedule. We all know they're capable of a lot better baseball and today was a good example of that,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Not until the seventh inning did they get a runner to third, and that was because Chase Utley’s throwing error allowed David Lough to get there. Jimmy Paredes grounded to Utley, and it looked like a double play, but the error put runners on first and third with one out.
Machado and Travis Snider struck out. Snider struck out four times, and counting the last at-bat on Wednesday night, has fanned five times in a row.
J.J. Hardy, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first inning double, singled with two outs in the eighth, but Ryan Flaherty grounded sharply to Ryan Howard for the third out.
Howard’s two-run home run off Bud Norris (2-5) was the game. Norris allowed three hits and two walks in the first five innings. In the sixth, Ben Revere singled, stole second and moved to third on an infield out.
With the Orioles in the exaggerated shift, Howard could have bunted and tied the score, but on a 1-2 pitch, he lined his 12th home run to right field.
“In the past couple of games I made one mistake with the fastball and deeper in the game,” Norris said. “It’s hard to get in that situation, but I know I can make those pitches to execute and get out of it, so I need to build off it and execute a little better in that situation.”
Philadelphia (23-45) broke a nine-game losing streak. The Orioles (34-32) had won 11 of their previous 13.
“It’s hard to take right now because obviously I want to win games and we’ve been playing good ball, so this one we’ll kind of let it be. We played really well against these guys. It was a big series win against them, took two there and one here. We’ll take it as it is. We know we have a tough task here. We’re playing good baseball. We just have to pick our heads up and get going tomorrow,” Norris said.
Jake Diekman (1-1), who was recalled earlier in the day got the win. He retired all three batters in the sixth. Diekman, Luis Garcia, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined to limit the Orioles to two hits in four innings.
In the ninth, Papelbon retired Nolan Reimold on a foul pop, Lough on a grounder to first, and struck out Matt Wieters, and he had his 13th save.
A year ago, the Orioles won five of nine in Toronto, the first time they’ve won a season series there since 2005. They must win five of the remaining six to repeat it.
“It’s a big series. All series are big at this point. We just gotta continue doing what we’re doing and I think we’ll be all right,” Hardy said.
NOTES: Miguel Gonzalez (strained groin) threw on the side and will go to Bowie to start on Saturday. ”I need to get back on the mound, get back to pitching. Hopefully I can go five [innings] or 75 pitches, either or. I’m feeling good about myself right now. The bullpen went really well,” Gonzalez said. He is eligible to return on June 25.
-The Orioles signed six more draft choices. The biggest name was ninth-rounder CF Jaylen Ferguson, who was scouted by Nathan Showalter. Others signed were 2B Drew Turbin (14), RF Mike Odenwaelder (16), RHP Juan Echevarria (21), 1B Steve Laurino (25) and C Stuart Levy (27). The Orioles have now signed 23 of their 41 draft choices.
-Machado’s 14th home run and 10th stolen base put him on a pace for 35 home runs and 25 stolen bases.
-The Orioles hadn’t lost in Philadelphia since July 4, 2004.
-Mike Wright (2-2, 4.13) pitches against Marco Estrada (4-3, 4.24) on Friday night in Toronto.
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