TORONTO, ON – Pete Walker’s return to the rotation was a successful one as he limited the Baltimore Orioles to two runs on five hits over five innings, and got some help from his opposing pitcher Daniel Cabrera when he balked with the bases loaded to give the Jays a slim 3-2 win.
With the Blue Jays beginning to lose ground in the American League East, they desperately needed to some strong pitching performances if they were to tame the powerful Oriole bats - and got just that Wednesday night from Pete Walker.
The game would start off a little slow with each team trading zeros for the first couple of innings, but Baltimore would get things started in the third off Walker when Larry Bigbie singled and was advanced to second base with a groundout. Brian Roberts, who has been so key to the early season success of the Orioles, would knock Bigbie in with a double to right, scoring the first run of the game.
Toronto would answer right back in their half of the third when rookie Gabe Gross would hit a lead off triple to the gap in right-center. Orlando Hudson would follow with a groundout to second, cashing Gross from third to make it 1-1 after three.
Rafael Palmeiro, who is approaching a few milestones in the record books, would inch closer in a couple of them in the fourth inning when he would tag Pete Walker for a solo-shot, his 561st all-time, which also gives him 2083 Hits over his twenty year career, making it 2-1 O’s.
The Blue Jays would finally reward their starter with some run support in the fifth off Daniel Cabrera when Orlando Hudson would double to lead off, Russ Adams would walk, and Frank Catalanotto would single loading the bases. After a Vernon Wells strikeout, Shea Hillenbrand would ground into a fielder’s choice at second base, scoring Hudson. With the score tied at two, Aaron Hill would walk, loading the bases again when Cabrera would balk, forcing home the go ahead run for a 3-2 Jays lead.
Cabrera would leave after the fifth, totaling 100 pitches, giving up three runs on five hits.
Walker would work into the sixth but began to get in trouble when Luis Matos would reach on an infield single, followed by an error by Hillenbrand off the bat of Miguel Tejada. Walker would strikeout Sammy Sosa before giving way to Jason Frasor with one out. Frasor would get Palmeiro and Jay Gibbons to fly out, getting the Jays out of a jam.
Miguel Batista would record the final five outs of the game, earning his thirteenth save in fourteen tries this season. Pete Walker would get the win, improving to (3-0) on the season while Daniel Cabrera is tagged with the loss, dropping to (5-7).
The Blue Jays will send Roy Halladay (10-4) to the mound on Thursday, in hopes of grabbing three of four from the Orioles. Sidney Ponson (7-4) will take the mound for Baltimore.
The game on Thursday can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet starting at 7pm EST with radio coverage on The FAN 590AM.
InsideTheDome’s Game Notes: Aaron Hill’s six-game hit streak was snapped after going 0-for-2 with a walk on Wednesday…Pete Walker won his first game as a starter since he did it with the Blue Jays back in 2002…Thursday’s starter Roy Halladay has had some trouble with the Orioles this season, going 0-2 in two starts allowing 11 runs in 13 and 2/3 innings.