Called upon to make his second career start in spot duty for the Toronto Blue Jays, Todd Redmond turned in an impressive performance.
A repeat effort could be tough to come by as he encounters one of baseball's most powerful lineups.
Redmond looks to keep the Baltimore Orioles in the park Saturday as they host Toronto.
The Blue Jays couldn't have asked for much more from Redmond (1-1, 3.55 ERA) Sunday considering their rotation's struggles this year. He limited Minnesota to one hit - a two-run homer - and three walks over five innings of an 11-5 victory.
"He couldn't have done a better job," manager John Gibbons said.
Toronto will take all the pitching help it can get, with its starters ranking near the bottom of the majors with a 4.91 ERA. Redmond's showing was enough to earn another start after he had also posted a 3.52 ERA over three relief appearances earlier this season.
The right-hander's only previous big league experience was a rough start last year for Cincinnati that saw him surrender four runs over 3 1-3 innings in a loss to the Chicago Cubs .
Redmond will look to avoid results similar to that of Mark Buehrle in Friday's series opener, an 8-5 Baltimore victory. All eight runs came against the left-hander on homers by All-Stars Chris Davis , Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy.
Davis' homer - his second in as many days and his 13th in his last 27 games versus Toronto - improved his major league-leading total to 35. Hardy had gone 19 games without a home run, a span in which he was 10 for 66. Jones' homer was his fifth in the last eight games versus the Blue Jays.
The Orioles (52-42) lead baseball with 128 homers and they've totaled 19 in their last eight meetings with Toronto 44-48).
"That's what they do in a great park to hit home runs," Gibbons said. "They had the two big three-run homers, but you've got to expect here that's going to happen. You have to go toe to toe."
Baltimore starter Jason Hammel (7-5, 5.03) will also have to mindful of the long ball, as J.P. Arencibia and Edwin Encarnacion homered for Toronto, which ranks second in the majors with 114 home runs.
Hammel gave up one run over five innings in a 2-1 road win against the New York Yankees on Sunday - breaking a six-game losing streak for the Orioles in his starts - but his winless stretch grew to seven starts as he failed to record a decision.
He's surrendered six home runs over his last two starts versus Toronto after giving up four in his previous seven against the Blue Jays.
Encarnacion, who was 5 for 29 during a nine-game homerless drought before Friday, is 6 for 14 off Hammel with two homers, including one in a 7-6 victory June 21.
Jose Bautista fell to 2 for 24 over his last six games after going hitless in five at-bats with four strikeouts Friday. He's 2 for 14 off Hammel and 2 for his last 32 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles have won 10 of 13 at home against the Blue Jays.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 28, 2013||Melky Cabrera||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 27, 2013||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
|June 20, 2013||Steve Pearce||15-Day DL||Left wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2013||Jason Hammel||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 06, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 13, 2013||Wei-Yin Chen||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The bullpen door kept swinging open, and one Toronto pitcher after another made his way to the mound seeking to keep the powerful Baltimore Orioles in check.
Five Blue Jays relievers combined for five shutout innings, and Toronto overcame home runs by Chris Davis and Adam Jones in a 7-3 victory Saturday.
J.P. Arencibia gave the Blue Jays the lead with a two-run single in the sixth, Edwin Encarnacion hit his 25th homer and Maicer Izturis had three hits to help the Blue Jays secure their fourth win in 11 games.
But the key was the bullpen.
Aaron Loup (4-3) got the victory with 1 1-3 innings of hitless relief. Loup replaced starter Todd Redmond , who allowed three runs in four innings.
Dustin McGowan , Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar followed before Casey Janssen entered with one out in the ninth and struck out Nate McLouth and Manny Machado for his 18th save in 19 chances.
"The bullpen came in and there's not much to say other than they've really been lights out the whole year and continue to pitch that way," Arencibia said.
Baltimore managed only three hits over the final five innings after Davis and Jones went deep to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
"They hammer mistakes. If you make them against these guys, they're going to make you pay," Arencibia said. "That's why they are as good as they are."
One of the positives this season for the last-place Blue Jays has been the performance of their bullpen. When rested, it's tough to beat.
"Those guys have been used pretty good this year, but with one more game before the (All-Star) break we knew we could do that today," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
The strategy worked perfectly.
"They've got a good bullpen," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Once they got the lead there, they can really match up with you."
Davis increased his major league-leading home run total to 36 with his third long ball in three games, a solo shot in the second inning. Reggie Jackson is the only player in AL history with more home runs before the All-Star break, hitting 37 in 1969.
Baltimore led 3-2 before the Blue Jays took the lead in the sixth against Jason Hammel (7-6). Singles by Adam Lind , Colby Rasmus and Izturis loaded the bases for Arencibia, who lined a single to left.
Toronto pulled away with three runs in the seventh. Jose Bautista hit an RBI double, then Lind and Rasmus delivered run-scoring grounders.
Toronto's Brett Lawrie , activated from the disabled list before the game, went 0 for 4 in his first big league start at second base. Lawrie was moved from third base so that the steady hitting Izturis could stay in the lineup.
Hammel gave up six runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.59 ERA in eight starts since May 27 and has surrendered 19 home runs this season compared to nine all last year.
Asked to assess his latest performance, Hammel replied, "Unacceptable. Far too many base runners. Get behind hitters. Fastball-hitting club that I am feeding fastballs. It's easy to hit when you know what's coming. I am not throwing sliders for strikes. Not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is non-existent. I'm beating myself right now."
Although he has a winning record, his 5.24 ERA is more indicative of his first-half performance.
"These guys are battling for me," Hammel said. "You may get runs, you may not. But you've still got to make pitches during that time. And I'm not doing it."
The game drew a crowd of 46,150, the fifth sellout of the season at Camden Yards. Baltimore won the previous four.
Hammel faced three batters before falling behind 2-0. Jose Reyes led off with a double, and Encarnacion hit a one-out drive over the center-field wall, his second homer in two games.
Davis hit an opposite-field homer to left on a full count in the second inning to get the Orioles within a run.
Baltimore went up 3-2 in the fourth. After Jones opened the inning with his 18th home run, Redmond hit Davis with a pitch and Brian Roberts delivered a two-out RBI double off the right-field wall.
The Orioles got only three hits the rest of the way.
NOTES: Toronto's J.A. Happ, who was hit in the head by a line drive on May 7, returned to the mound and pitched three innings in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday. He allowed four hits and no earned runs. ... Baltimore's Scott Feldman (0-1) will go against Toronto's Josh Johnson (1-4) in Sunday's finale. Feldman is 0-4 lifetime against the Blue Jays. ... Jones received two walks in a game for the first time this season.