BALTIMORE (AP) — Home-field advantage hasn’t taken hold this season for the Baltimore Orioles, especially when Chris Tillman is on the mound.
The Orioles wasted a fine pitching effort by Tillman and lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Sunday, leaving Baltimore with an unsatisfying split of the four-game series.
The defeat dropped the Orioles 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East and dropped their record at Camden Yards to 16-17.
Baltimore went 5-5 during a homestand against Oakland, Boston and Toronto.
“Obviously when you play at home you want to play a little above .500,” said Adam Jones, who hit his 11th homer for the Orioles. “We’re playing some good teams. That’s the beauty of it. The competitive level is rising and it’s fun to see.”
Tillman (5-4) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. He’s 0-4 with a 2.78 ERA at home and 5-0 with a 6.33 ERA on the road.
“That’s how it goes in baseball,” Jones said. “He threw the ball well today. Unfortunately, we were unable to score him some runs. We had a couple opportunities, but he can only do what he can control. Today he went out there and gave us everything he had.”
Tillman didn’t issue a walk or record a strikeout.
“I’m trying to make these guys put the ball in play as soon as possible,” the right-hander said. “If that’s the way the way it’s going to be, fine. I’m going to take it.”
Nelson Cruz had three hits and his major league-leading 56th RBI for the Orioles, who are 17-11 against division foes.
J.A. Happ pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Dioner Navarro had three hits and two RBIs to help the Blue Jays forge a split.
“It means a lot,” Navarro said.
“It’s a good series in general. We made some good plays, we got some clutch hitting,” Toronto slugger Jose Bautista said. “A series split on the road against the second-place team is something to not be too upset about.”
Edwin Encarnacion also had three hits for the Blue Jays, who had totaled 15 runs in losing six of their previous eight games. Led by Navarro, Toronto banged out 12 hits against Tillman and two relievers.
Navarro had two doubles and a single.
“I know people to expect the runs to come from the big boys,” he said. “You cannot always depend on the big dogs. You can count on the little guys sometimes.”
Happ (6-3) gave up one run, seven hits and no walks in six-plus innings. He had lost two of his previous three starts, yielding 12 earned runs over 17 2-3 innings.
“Happ was outstanding, he really was,” manager John Gibbons said. “He gave us a chance to win out there.”
Casey Janssen got four outs for his 12th save.
The Blue Jays went up 5-1 with a two-run eighth against Tommy Hunter. Navarro hit an RBI double and Steve Tolleson added a run-scoring groundout.
Jones hit his 11th homer of the season in the bottom half off Dustin McGowan, but Janssen made sure the Orioles wouldn’t score again.
“The goal is always to win series,” Happ said, “but to split is pretty good, too.”
Toronto got a first-inning run on an RBI double by Bautista, who one pitch earlier thought he had drawn a walk on a 3-1 offering that umpire Jerry Layne called a strike.
The Blue Jays wasted a leadoff double in the second inning but converted the same situation in the fourth. After Encarnacion doubled, Navarro blooped an RBI single to left field for a 2-0 lead.
In the Toronto fifth, Anthony Gose snapped a 5-for-38 skid with a leadoff single, advanced on a double by Jose Reyes and scored on a fly ball by Melky Cabrera.
Baltimore closed to 3-1 in the sixth when Jones hit a two-out double and Cruz singled him home.
NOTES: It was the first time since May 27, 2010, against Oakland that Baltimore pitchers did not record a single strikeout. … Orioles 1B Chris Davis was given a rare day off by manager Buck Showalter, even though the slugger had four homers in his past 11 games. … The Blue Jays have Monday off, while the Orioles continue a 13-game run against AL East foes in Tampa Bay against the last-place Rays. … Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt was scratched, one day after he fell backward and hit his head upon being unintentionally brushed by Jones. … The crowd of 46,469 was Baltimore’s fifth sellout of the season and second in the series.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.