TORONTO – Drew Hutchison has had his struggles at home this season.
But the Toronto Blue Jays right-hander has had success in his short career against the Baltimore Orioles.
Hutchison put his Rogers Centre problems behind him at least for one brilliant night and continued his domination of the Orioles on Wednesday, allowing only one Chris Davis home run and one walk over 8 2/3 innings while striking out eight.
With Jose Bautista providing a two-run homer and an RBI double among his three hits, the Blue Jays snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Orioles.
“Perfect timing, we were struggling a little bit,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We needed that. He was good. He has pitched good ball games for us this year, but perfect timing for us tonight.”
Hutchison was removed for closer Casey Janssen after he walked Nick Markakis with two out in the ninth. Janssen retired Manny Machado on a foul to first to end the game.
“It’s a great start but it’s a little frustrating to walk the last guy, you don’t want to be too picky,” Hutchison said.
The second-place Blue Jays (61-54) moved to within four games of the first-place Orioles (64-49) in the American League East and ended Baltimore’s three-game winning streak.
The teams play the rubber match of the three-game series on Thursday.
Hutchison entered the game with a poor record at Rogers Centre this season, 2-5 with a 7.71 earned-run average over his eight starts there before Wednesday.
He is 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 14 starts on the road this season.
Hutchison improved his record to 3-0 in six career starts against the Orioles, including a 2-0 record in four starts against them this season.
“I approach it the same as I always do whether it’s on the road or here at home and whoever I’m facing,” Hutchison said. “You approach them all the same. I’ve just had good success against them.”
Added Bautista: “I don’t think it’s any surprise. He’s certainly capable of doing what he did tonight on a consistent basis. It’s just going out and executing like he did today. He had a great tempo today, he kept throwing strikes and kept people off-balance. Obviously the results speak for themselves.
“I was hoping he would be able to finish it off and get the complete game but maybe that’s something to shoot for in the next start for him.”
Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (12-4) failed in his attempt at his sixth consecutive winning start when he allowed eight hits – including Bautista’s homer – and four runs in five innings.
Melky Cabrera also had three hits for the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays scored twice in the first inning. Cabrera singled with one out, Nolan Reimold singled with two out and Dioner Navarro and Danny Valencia hit RBI singles.
Davis sliced the lead in half with his 19th homer of the season in the top of the second.
“He moves the ball around, he’s got movement on all of his pitches and he threw all of his pitches in any count tonight,” Davis said of Hutchison. “After he gave up the home run he really buckled down. We just couldn’t square anything up. A lot of pop ups, a lot of ground balls. He was mixing all of his pitches in any count, throwing a lot of strikes and keeping us off balance.
“His change-up was good tonight, very deceptive. It looks just like his fastball coming out of his hand. When you’re throwing 93-94 and you’ve got a good change-up to complement that, it’s tough to hit.”
Bautista followed Cabrera’s two-out double in the bottom of the second with his 22nd homer of the season to bump Toronto’s lead to 4-1.
“I pitched it where I wanted to but he still hit it.” Chen said through a translator.
“He’s a great hitter. I wasn’t able to control the game in the first two innings, that’s what I failed to do. I was kind of upset about it.”
Bautista’s two-out double in the sixth against left-hander T.J. McFarland gave the Blue Jays a 5-1 lead. It followed a single by Munenori Kawasaki, a sacrifice by Ryan Goins and a single by Cabrera.
Hutchison said he made a minor adjustment in his bullpen session between starts.
“Just a little tiny one,” he said. “I was really hoping to get on top off the ball and stay through it and me and Navarro were on the same page pretty much every pitch tonight. We were just able to execute a lot of good pitches.”
His fastball command made his slider effective and he felt that his change-up was good.
“I had every chance to finish it, but unfortunately I walked Markakis,” he said.