Hutchison finds higher gear for Blue Jays

Drew Hutchison got comfortable on the mound and started mowing down the Baltimore Orioles.

The rookie struck out a career-high nine in seven shutout innings, Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson backed him with home runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 6-2 Monday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Hutchison (4-2) allowed three hits, all singles, in the longest of his eight big league starts. He walked three.

"I found my slot, found my release point, which is something I was looking for," Hutchison said. "I had inconsistently found it and I was able to find it consistently."

That helped the right-hander throw harder than usual, with his fastball hitting 95 mph several times.

"I don't think I've ever seen 95 out of him," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "When he's at that velocity, he's almost a different type of pitcher, for sure."

Hutchison's strong start made a big impact on his Baltimore opponents.

"Hutchison was good, real good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You can see why they think so highly of him. This guy is 21 years old with great stuff."

Orioles designated hitter Mark Reynolds said Hutchison's ability to locate pitches kept Baltimore off balance.

"It's tough to put big innings together when a guy is living away or living in and hitting his spots," said Reynolds, who returned from the disabled list to go 2 for 3 with a walk.

Encarnacion hit his 16th homer, a two-run drive to left in the third, and Johnson added a two-run shot to center in the fourth, his ninth.

Last year, Encarnacion did not hit his first home run of the season until May 29. He finished with 17.

Baltimore right-hander Tommy Hunter allowed six runs, five earned, and nine hits in three-plus innings. He walked none and struck out none.

Winless in six starts since beating the Blue Jays in Baltimore on April 24, Hunter fell to 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five career starts at Rogers Centre.

"This place is sickening for me," he said.

The Orioles have lost three straight and six of eight but remain tied with Tampa Bay atop the AL East.

Toronto jumped on Hunter (2-3) in the first. Back in the lineup after missing two games with a sore left hamstring, Johnson led off with a double and scored on Colby Rasmus' single to right. Johnson added another run in the second, driving in David Cooper with a groundout.

Encarnacion made it 4-0 with a line-drive homer in the third and Johnson chased Hunter with his shot in the fourth.

Luis Perez pitched a scoreless eighth but Francisco Cordero gave up two runs in the ninth. Casey Janssen got two outs for his fourth save as the Blue Jays (25-24) avoided falling below .500 for the first time this season.

The return of Reynolds did little to spark an Orioles offense that has scored just seven runs over the past three games.

Poor baserunning and a questionable call cost the Orioles in the third, when Chris Davis led off with a single and Reynolds followed with a walk. Davis was caught stealing when he got caught in a rundown, with third base umpire Kerwin Danley ruling that Davis had left the baseline to avoid a tag from third baseman Brett Lawrie. Third base coach DeMarlo Hale and Showalter both argued the call.

"DeMarlo didn't think (Davis) went far enough out of the line," Showalter said. "(The tag) obviously missed him."

Hutchison loaded the bases by issuing walks to Robert Andino and, one out later, J.J. Hardy, but Nick Markakis ended the inning by grounding back to the mound.

"He made his call," Davis said of Danley. "It hurt us right there. That's a big inning that could have been."

Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, the middle of Baltimore's order, went a combined 2 for 12. Jones hit a leadoff single in the ninth, extending his career-high hitting streak to 19 games. It's the longest streak in the American League this season.

Toronto's Omar Vizquel singled to begin the fourth, the 2,848th hit of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson for 43rd place.

NOTES: Toronto slugger Jose Bautista broke his bat over his leg in frustration after fouling out to end the sixth. ... Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar, who left Sunday's game at Texas with a sore left groin, was held out of the starting lineup. ... Showalter said OF Endy Chavez (left oblique) should be activated from the disabled list Tuesday. ... The Blue Jays recalled LHP Aaron Laffey from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned RHP Chad Beck to Triple-A. ... Toronto RHP Sergio Santos (shoulder) threw from 120 feet on flat ground. Santos could resume throwing off a mound Wednesday or Thursday, Farrell said.