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Thornton finishes five but bats quiet in loss to O's

June 11, 2019

BALTIMORE -- Trent Thornton worked around his walks to escape unharmed, but doubles did him in against the Orioles on Tuesday. Trey Mancini and Chance Cisco each doubled in runs in the third inning, Anthony Santander notched a two-bagger from a defensive miscue in the fourth that plated another, and

BALTIMORE -- Trent Thornton worked around his walks to escape unharmed, but doubles did him in against the Orioles on Tuesday.

Trey Mancini and Chance Cisco each doubled in runs in the third inning, Anthony Santander notched a two-bagger from a defensive miscue in the fourth that plated another, and Thornton and the Blue Jays fell, 4-2, to Baltimore in the series opener at Camden Yards.

“I was able to get out of a couple of tough situations,” said Thornton. “I wish I would have gone deeper in the game. I felt better as the game went on. It comes down to making that couple pitches here and there, and they got a hit when they needed to.”

The Orioles belted five doubles off Thornton over five innings, all coming after he escaped a scoreless second, despite walking the bases loaded.

Box score

Toronto’s 25-year-old right-hander exited having thrown 96 pitches -- 59 for strikes -- and walking three for a fourth consecutive start. He’s issued at least that many free passes in seven outings of what has otherwise been a promising rookie season.

“He threw a lot of pitches [with] the walks and stuff, but he still made the big pitches to keep us in the game,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “At the end of the day, he kept us in the game. I thought he did a good job.”

Eric Sogard belted a leadoff homer for the Blue Jays, who have lost five straight and 15 of their last 18, and are now only two games ahead of an Orioles club that entered the day tied with Kansas City for baseball’s worst record.

Randal Grichuk added a popup RBI double in the eighth that fell in nearly at the exact same spot as Santander’s four innings earlier. Toronto had only three hits in between, while scoring three runs or fewer for the 10th time during their 18-game funk.

It might’ve been six doubles against Thornton if not for Grichuk’s hustle in right field to keep Santander to a one-out single in the third. It was defense for naught when Mancini found the left-center gap to plate Santander from first, then scored on Cisco’s liner down the left-field line.

“I went back and looked at it, and they put some pretty good swings on some good pitches,” Thornton said of Baltimore’s four-hit third. “You’ve kind of got to tip your cap when they do that."

In the fourth, Sogard retreated from second and Grichuk ran in from right on Santander’s popout down the right-field line. Sogard looked to have a bead on it, then hesitated as though he believed Grichuk had called him off. The ball fell in several feet from either, and Jonathan Villar scored from second to make it 3-1.

“It was a miscommunication,” Montoyo said.

Help from Phelps?
A bullpen that entered Tuesday with a respectable 4.06 ERA could soon get reinforcement from the return of David Phelps, Montoyo said.

Phelps hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. He’s made two Minor League rehab outings this month, most recently pitching a scoreless inning for Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday.

“He’s close,” Montoyo said. “We want him to go back-to-back [games] before he gets here, and he wants to do that, too. When he gets here, he’s ready to pitch.”