BALTIMORE (AP) - It was apparent months ago that the Baltimore Orioles were headed toward their 14th consecutive season without a winning record.
The dubious distinction became official Thursday in a defeat that typifies their forgettable year.
In an 8-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore wasted homers by Vladimir Guerrero and Matt Wieters. The Orioles trailed by three runs in the sixth inning, made up the deficit in the seventh and promptly gave the lead back in the eighth.
And so, by dropping two of three to the Blue Jays, Baltimore fell to 54-81. One more loss and the Orioles will be saddled with their 14th straight losing record.
``We scored six runs. You like your chances there,' manager Buck Showalter said. ``We've had our challenges getting outs. Got back in it, went right back out there and gave up runs.'
After Guerrero tied it with his season-high fourth RBI of the game in the seventh, Willie Eyre walked leadoff hitter Kelly Johnson in the eighth and rookie Brett Lawrie followed with a homer for an 8-6 lead.
Baltimore didn't get another baserunner the rest of the way.
Orioles starter Tommy Hunter allowed six runs, five earned, in six innings.
Showalter said the right-hander began feeling ill in the third inning and felt even worse after his performance.
``He was throwing up. He's heading to the hospital,' Showalter said. ``I'm not going to try to say what it is or what it isn't, but he won't make the trip (to Tampa Bay) with us right now.'
Lawrie made his debut at Camden Yards on Aug. 5. He's batting .417 in six games against the Orioles, all at Camden Yards. In addition, three of his seven homers and eight of his 20 RBIs have come in Baltimore.
``It's a home away from home. It's where it all started,' Lawrie said. ``We'll be back here some day.'
It will be too soon for the Orioles.
``He's a big ol' boy,' Baltimore's Nick Markakis said. ``He can swing the stick, no question about that. Their whole team can swing.'
Markakis' streak of 182 consecutive series with at least one hit ended. It's the first time he went hitless in a series since May 23-25, 2008, in Tampa Bay.
Johnson also homered for the Blue Jays, who had 26 runs and 42 hits in the series. Yunel Escobar was 4 for 5 with two RBIs.
Shawn Camp (2-3) finished the seventh inning, Jon Rauch worked a perfect eighth and Frank Francisco got three straight outs for his 12th save.
The game was switched from 7:05 p.m. to 12:35 so the city could finalize plans for the first Baltimore Grand Prix. The change, combined with the lackluster matchup between the two bottom teams in the AL East, resulted in a meager crowd of 11,617.
Toronto played a seventh straight game without manager John Farrell, who is recovering from pneumonia and won't be with the Jays at Yankee Stadium this weekend. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu is running the team in his place.
The Orioles used successive doubles by Guerrero and Wieters to take a 1-0 lead in the second.
Toronto responded with a two-run third that began with Hunter walking No. 9 hitter Mike McCoy, who took third on a double by Escobar. Eric Thames followed with a run-scoring groundout and Jose Bautista hit an RBI single.
The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fourth. After Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia hit consecutive doubles, Escobar singled in a run.
Guerrero and Wieters connected in succession in the bottom half, both on 3-2 pitches. It was the fourth time this season that Baltimore hit back-to-back home runs.
Johnson led off the sixth with his 20th homer of the season and second in two games. He went 3 for 4 and is 9 for 17 in his last four games.
Baltimore closed to 6-5 in the bottom half when starter Luis Perez walked the first two batters and Guerrero hit a two-run double. The Orioles then put runners at second and third with one out before Jesse Litsch retired the side.
Guerrero drove in another run in the seventh with a slow roller to shortstop with one out and the bases loaded.
NOTES: The Blue Jays activated Rauch (appendicitis) from the 15-day DL. ... The Orioles purchased the contracts of RHP Rick VandenHurk and OF Kyle Hudson from Triple-A Norfolk. ... The Blue Jays open a three-game series in New York on Friday. Toronto will start Brandon Morrow, who is averaging a major league-best 10.35 strikeouts per nine innings. ... Baltimore rookie Zach Britton will start Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against Tampa Bay.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved