SPORTS

Blue Jays belt four homers, Morrow hurt, in 4-1 win over Orioles

05/30/2012 09:43 EDT | Updated 07/30/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow rebounded from the shortest start of his career with a strong outing Wednesday.

But even better news for the right-hander was avoiding injury after being struck by a line drive in Toronto's 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.

Morrow suffered only a contusion on his right shin after limping off the field in the seventh inning and could make his next scheduled start in one week.

“Fortunately, we were able to, no pun intended, dodge a little bit of a bullet there,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “He does have a contusion on the outside of the right shin. X-rays at this point were negative.”

Morrow (6-3), who allowed six runs last Friday in Texas in two-thirds of an inning, pitched 6 1/3 innings while allowing four hits, a run while striking out eight.

He was supported by four solo home runs, as Edwin Encarnacion, Rajai Davis, Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus all went deep against Orioles starter Jason Hammel (6-2). Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Toronto's aggressive swings on Hammel's breaking balls left the right-hander suspicious and asking questions.

“Honestly, with the fastball command, when you're not locating your fastball, you're going to give up some home runs there,” said Hammel, who allowed a season-high nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. “But the swings they were taking on the breaking stuff, it was pretty amazing to me. I don't think you can take swings like that, not knowing they're coming. I don't know. That's all I can say.”

Baltimore’s Adam Jones was 0-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch to have his hitting string end at 20 games.

Morrow was assisted off the field, not putting any weight on his right foot, after Wilson Betemit’s single hit off his leg.

“It hurt a lot,” Morrow said. “My foot was numb and then felt like it was swelling up. I guess there’s a nerve in there that it hit or something. Luckily it hit the muscle on the side of my shin. If it hit a half an inch over it could have been a different story."

“I thought there was something wrong when he couldn’t even put his foot down,” said second baseman Omar Vizquel, who had two singles and has 2,850 in his career to pass Brooks Robinson for 43rd place on the all-time list.

Morrow feels he will be able to make his next start that is scheduled for next Wednesday.

“Yeah, I’m standing on it and moving around on it okay,” he said. “It’s just a bruise and we’ll keep working on it. And it should be all right. We have the two days off (in the schedule) in between and that should help a lot.”

The Orioles (29-22) have lost five in a row and had only four hits on Wednesday against four Blue Jays pitchers. Toronto (27-24) is 4-5 in the season series.

“I think a lot of it had to do with Morrow,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “No one doubts his stuff and his ability to pitch. He's got great stuff, you can see why he's so well thought of.”

Morrow gave up a run in the second on a single by Ryan Flaherty off the glove of shortstop Yunel Escobar. It scored Mark Reynolds who walked with one out and took third on a single by Betemit.

“I came in the game with a little chip on my shoulder after the last time,” Morrow said. “And then of course we needed this one to sweep them to get back in the race.”

Encarnacion tied it with a leadoff homer in the home second, his 17th of the season with 12 of them at Rogers Centre.

Davis led off the home third with his third homer of the season on a 1-0 pitch. He showed bunt on the first pitch and it came inside and sent him to the ground.

Lawrie led off the fourth with his fourth homer of the season to stretch Toronto’s lead to 3-1.

It was 4-1 after Rasmus extended his hitting streak to seven games with his sixth homer of the season with one out in the fifth.

“Four swings of the bat really the difference tonight,” Farrell said. “We got four fastballs on the plate and the guys did a tremendous job on them.”

After a leadoff single in the third, Morrow recorded 11 outs in a row until he hit Jones with a pitch with two out in the sixth.

“The whole time I was just thinking attack the strike zone.” Morrow said. “And attack it with my good stuff.”

Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 17,754. ... Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson, who is playing with a sore hamstring, did not start Wednesday’s game. It was planned do that Thursday’s off-day would give him two days off in a row. ...The Blue Jays are 12-14 on the road after their 1-5 trip to Tampa Bay and Texas. ...Hammel entered the game with a 2.78 earned-run average, sixth in the American League. ...Vladimir Guerrero, signed recently to a minor-league contract by the Blue Jays, was 1-for-5 with an RBI for the single-A Dunedin Blue Jays in their 4-3 loss Wednesday to Lakeland. ...The Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Friday with Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 3.56 earned-run average) to face Clay Buchholz (4-2. 7.19 ERA).

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