BALTIMORE – Through three starts, Ubaldo Jimenez is not looking like the pitcher paid $50 million for.
On Sunday, Jimenez lost for the third straight time, allowing five runs on 10 hits in the Orioles 11-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 39,281 at Oriole Park.
Jimenez (0-3) now sports an ERA of 7.31. It’s not what the Orioles had in mind when they handed him a four-year contract in February.
“Tough one. Really bad one,” Jimenez said.
His problems started quickly when Colby Rasmus, who tied Saturday night’s game against Tommy Hunter in the ninth with a home run, hit a long blast onto Eutaw Street with one out in the first.
The Orioles (5-7) tied the game in the bottom of the first when Nick Markakis singled and Delmon Young doubled. Markakis scored on Adam Jones’ infield out.
It was Jones’ 1000th career hit.
Mark Buehrle (3-0) pitched seven innings, allowing the one run on five hits, striking out two and not walking a batter.
Toronto scored 10 unanswered runs against the Orioles.
“I think as an offense, we definitely want to score some more runs early in the game. When you go up there and put up a run early, you’ve got to continue to score runs,” Chris Davis said.
Toronto (7-6) scored two runs in the fourth when Adam Lind walked. Edwin Encarnacion hit a ball down the left field line inadvertently fielded by the ballgirl. It was called a double.
With runners on second and third, Lind scored on an infield out by Dioner Navarro. Encarnacion came home on a squeeze bunt by Jonathan Diaz, and Toronto led 3-1.
“Ubaldo was very close getting us to, like I said, 3-1. But close doesn't get it, right?” manager Buck Showalter said.
The Blue Jays added two runs in the sixth. Brett Lawrie his a long, high home run to left, his second of the year. After Ryan Goins singled, Jimenez was replaced by Josh Stinson.
“I've been making the same mistake right down the middle of the plate. I haven't been able to execute pitches the way I wanted to. Today my breaking ball felt better but I kept making mistakes with the fastball,” Jimenez said.
In his first three starts, Jimenez has pitched six, 4 2/3 and 5 1/3 innings.
“He’s a veteran guy. He knows what he is doing out there. I can’t imagine pitching behind all the time so as an offense, and as a defense, we just got to continue to go out there and have good at-bats and pick it up behind him. He’s a guy that knows what it’s like. He’s been through the fire and we know he’s going to be there for us,” Davis said.
Last year, Jimenez was 0-2 after his first three starts with an 11.25 ERA. He finished 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA.
“If you look at his kind of history, he gets better as the year goes on,” Showalter said.
“He has some challenges last year and came on real strong. You trust the person and the character. He's in good standing where that's concerned. He'll keep fighting. He'll work his way through it.”
Melky Cabrera doubled, and Rasmus’ single scored Goins and Cabrera to make it 6-1. Encarnacion’s double gave Toronto a seven-run lead. The five runs were the most allowed by the Orioles in an inning this season.
Jose Bautista’s three-run home run in the eighth off Stinson gave Toronto an 11-1 lead.
Stinson allowed six runs on seven hits in two innings.
Davis hit his first home run of the year in the eighth, a long drive off the batter’s eye in center. Matt Wieters followed with his third. Both were hit off Esmil Rogers, and they were the Orioles’ first back-to-back homers of the season.
On Monday, the Orioles begin a three-game series with Tampa Bay. Manny Machado, who’s still rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee in Sarasota, Fla., will sprint for the first time since his injury. He’s still at least a few weeks from returning.
“You can’t sit here and worry about when he is going to come back. We trust Manny’s doing everything he can to get back, but we’ve got guys in here that can pick him up. And that’s part of a season. That’s part of the game. Injuries are part of the game and you’ve got to use what you’ve got to go out there and try to hand it to him,” Davis said.
NOTES: Billy Hunter, a longtime Orioles coach and former Texas Rangers manager who also spent many years as Towson University’s athletic director, threw out the first pitch. Hunter played on the Orioles’ inaugural 1954 team.
-Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 6.75) faces Chris Archer (1-0, 1.38) on Monday night.