TORONTO — The Baltimore Orioles finally broke their seemingly interminable losing streak at Rogers Centre with a 4-3 win on Thursday afternoon, but they may have lost one of their most important players to injury.
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who was pitching superbly Thursday versus the Toronto Blue Jays, could not re-enter in the sixth inning because of an upper back strain. He will be examined by Orioles team physician John Wilckens on Friday and is expected to undergo an MRI exam.
“I’m going to go see the doctor and get it looked at and see what they say,” said Guthrie, who had allowed just one hit and one walk in five scoreless innings.
Guthrie said he felt some soreness while throwing a warmup pitch in the fifth inning, but pushed through it and struck out his final batter. There was never a thought about going out for the sixth.
Guthrie had struck out five and, according to Manager Buck Showalter, hadn’t pitched so well since he blanked the Tampa Bay Rays through eight innings on opening day.
Heading into Thursday, Baltimore had lost 16 straight at Rogers Centre, franchise records for both the Orioles and Blue Jays. The last time they won in Toronto was Aug. 7, 2009, when Jason Berken picked up the victory.
Strangely, Berken (1-2) was the winner again Thursday, this time in relief a day after he was recalled from Class AAA Norfolk. Berken threw two scoreless innings, striking out two.
The Orioles (31-35) also snapped a four-game losing streak overall. They made it interesting in the ninth, when closer Kevin Gregg (13th save) gave up a leadoff homer to Adam Lind before getting the final three outs.
J.J. Hardy led off the sixth with his seventh homer of the season off Zach Stewart, making his major league debut, to break the scoreless tie. The Orioles added a second run in the inning when Vladimir Guerrero doubled to score Nick Markakis. It was Guerrero’s 2,500th hit as a big leaguer.
The Blue Jays scored twice in the sixth against Jim Johnson, who allowed four singles and was also burned by an error by second baseman Ryan Adams. Jose Bautista’s two-run single was the big blow.
The score remained tied until the top of the ninth, when pinch runner Nolan Reimold scored from third on a slow hopper to third by Derrek Lee.
Adams picked up his first career RBI in the two-run ninth with a bases-loaded single.