TORONTO—The Orioles finally broke their seemingly interminable losing streak at Rogers Centre with a 4-3 win on Thursday afternoon, but they may have lost their rotation leader to injury.
Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie was pitching superbly, allowing just one hit and one walk through five innings. He struck out five batters and had thrown an economical 64 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Guthrie takes pride in his durability and has made 30 or more starts each of his past three seasons and threw 200 or more innings in 2009 and 2010.
Thursday's win was the Orioles' first here since Aug. 7, 2009, a span of 16 consecutive losses. The last time the Orioles were victorious in Toronto, the winning pitcher was Jason Berken, who also won Thursday's game with two scoreless innings.
Berken (1-2) was recalled Wednesday from the minors after nearly a month at Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles (31-35) also snapped a four-game losing streak on the season. They made it interesting in the ninth, when closer Kevin Gregg (13th save) gave up a leadoff homer to Adam Lind before getting the final three outs.
With Guthrie out, the Blue Jays scored twice in the sixth against reliever Jim Johnson, who allowed four singles and was also burned by a Ryan Adams error. With a runner on first and no outs, Yunel Escobar hit a grounder that bounced out of the rookie second baseman's glove.
After a sacrifice bunt by Corey Patterson moved the runners to second and third, Jose Bautista followed with a two-run single to center. The Blue Jays singled twice more, but Johnson got out of the bases-loaded jam when Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a double play.
The score remained tied until the top of the ninth, when pinch-runner Nolan Reimold scored from third on a slow hopper to third by Derrek Lee.
Third baseman Jayson Nix attempted to throw out Reimold, who had pinch-ran for Luke Scott, but Reimold sneaked under the tag by Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia.
Adams picked up his first career RBI in the two-run ninth with a bases-loaded single up the middle. Jays' relievers Jon Rauch (2-3) and Luis Perez did not retire one of the five batters they faced in the ninth.
The Orioles couldn't manage any offense for the first five innings against 24-year-old right-hander Zach Stewart, who was making his major league debut.
Stewart, who was part of the Scott Rolen deal with Cincinnati on July 31, 2009, allowed just three singles, a bloop double and a walk through five. J.J. Hardy led off the sixth with his seventh homer of the season to break the scoreless tie.
The Orioles scored a second run in the inning when Vladimir Guerrero doubled to left to score Nick Markakis. It was Guerrero's 2,500th hit as a big leaguer.
That's all Stewart would give up in his seven-inning outing. Throwing his fastball in the low 90s and mixing in a good sinker, Stewart allowed seven hits, one walk and two earned runs while striking out four.
It was a similar line to his final start at Double-A exactly a week ago, when he faced the Orioles' eastern League affiliate, the Bowie Baysox, and gave up five hits and one run in six innings while walking two and striking out six batters.
Stewart was 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 12 starts at Double-A New Hampshire, but looked like he belonged in the majors against the Orioles' offense. Stewart retired the Orioles first six batters on 19 pitches.