Pannone struggles as Blue Jays fall to Orioles

Lefty's game plan ineffective 2nd time vs. O's; Smoak hits 20th homer

August 29th, 2018

BALTIMORE -- Thomas Pannone almost made history in his Major League starting debut against the Orioles. His encore performance six days later was a much different story.

Pannone was hit hard, early and often in a 12-5 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The rookie left-hander surrendered seven runs on nine hits and a walk to the same team he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against during the first start of his career just last week.

The Orioles, who had trouble against Pannone on Aug. 22, seemed to have a much better approach against the 24-year-old this time around. Pannone had multiple baserunners in all but one of his 3 1/3 innings as Baltimore took a commanding 7-1 lead -- with ending a 13-inning scoreless streak -- by the fourth and never looked back. After previously becoming the first Blue Jays pitcher to toss six hitless innings in his debut, this start wasn't nearly as smooth.

"Going after a lineup I just faced is never an easy challenge, but that's really no excuse," Pannone said. "I didn't really execute pitches that well, couldn't really get my secondary pitches over for strikes. So I kind of backed myself into a corner with just my fastball, and really didn't have my best life on it either, tonight. Overall, just on to the next one."

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The location of Pannone's fastball was undeniably off, but he mixed in his offspeed offerings at almost the exact same rate as his first outing. During his starting debut, Pannone went to his changeup 19 percent of the time, and it was the same ratio Tuesday night. The only noticeable difference, beyond location, was that he used his curveball seven times out of 67 pitches compared to five curveballs in 108 pitches the previous outing.

With the Orioles more prepared this time around, Pannone had a long night. He allowed one run in the first inning on an RBI single by Chris Davis. After a scoreless second, there was more trouble in the third as shortstop hit a three-run homer in the four-run frame. Pannone was then chased from the game in the fourth after serving up a two-run homer to

"Wait until I get forced to make an adjustment," Pannone said when asked about his approach heading into Tuesday's outing after having so much success against Baltimore in his last start. "But at the same time, I didn't have good feel for my secondary pitches tonight. I had better feel for them my first day against them. I've got to make adjustments on the fly; every pitcher does when he's out there."

The starting rotation issues are nothing new for the Blue Jays, who have now surrendered double-digit hits in five consecutive games. Toronto entered play on Tuesday with 1,200 hits allowed on the season, which was the fourth highest total in the American League. The 367 hits surrendered since the All-Star break are the most in the Major Leagues.

"They probably knew coming in what to expect," Blue Jays first baseman said of Pannone. "We play these guys a lot, guys in our division a lot, so it's something you keep learning from. I know for myself, I like facing pitchers I know more than pitchers I don't know. I feel like it's that comfort factor."


Smoak reached the 20-homer plateau for the second consecutive year with a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning. It's the third time in Smoak's career that he reached the 20-homer threshold, but it took him quite a bit longer than it did last season. In 2017, Smoak hit his 20th home run on June 19, whereas this season it took an extra couple of months.

Even so, Smoak is able to take some satisfaction after turning himself into a consistent big league hitter. That was in question earlier in his career, but a pair of strong seasons at the plate for the Blue Jays has changed the narrative around his career.

"I feel like it's always a goal that you want to get to 20 homers," Smoak said. "I feel like it took a while, but it's always a good feeling knowing it's the third time I've gotten to it. It's great. For me, it's good, but I feel like we can finish strong here over the last month."


Pillar ran a long way to make a running catch in the bottom of the second inning, robbing John Andreoli of a hit for the first out of the frame.


matched a career high with four hits. In 14 games against Baltimore this season, Grichuk is batting .380 (19-for-50) with seven doubles, four home runs, eight runs and nine RBIs.


The Blue Jays will close out their three-game series against the Orioles when rookie left-hander (3-3, 4.12 ERA) takes the mound on Wednesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Borucki bounced back from a couple of rough outings to limit the Phillies to a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings in his last start. Baltimore is set to counter with right-hander Alex Cobb (4-15, 5.00).