It's very difficult for any pitcher to keep Toronto sluggers Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson in check, but Ubaldo Jimenez seems to have found the formula.
Jimenez looks to continue his effectiveness against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night as the Baltimore Orioles try to rebound from their first home loss.
The Bautista, Encarnacion and Donaldson trio was the best in baseball last season, accounting for 120 homers and 348 RBIs in leading Toronto to its first playoff appearance since 1993.
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Virtually none of that production, however, came in four games against Jimenez, who went 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in those starts and allowed just two homers in 24 2-3 innings. The Blue Jays' sluggers were a combined 1 for 24 with nine strikeouts in those matchups.
Bautista is 2 for 30 lifetime against Jimenez, while Encarnacion (6 for 32) and Donaldson (2 for 17) have also struggled mightily.
Bautista's seventh-inning RBI single extended the Blue Jays' lead, and they held on for a 4-3 victory in Tuesday's series opener. Troy Tulowitzki had a two-run double for Toronto (8-7), which has won three straight and five of seven.
Tulowitzki entered the game batting .140.
''Like everybody else, it's just a matter of time,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''He really hasn't hit his stride but when he gets hits, they're big ones.''
Manny Machado hit a solo home run and Matt Wieters added a two-run shot for Baltimore (8-4), which lost for the fourth time in five games since a 7-0 start and had won 10 in a row at home dating to last season.
Machado, who also doubled, is the only player in the majors to hit safely in every one of his team's games this season. His fifth homer tied him for the AL lead.
Baltimore has homered in 11 consecutive games, hitting 25 total in that span.
Outstanding in his season debut, Jimenez (1-1, 3.75 ERA) tries to bounce back after a poor performance in his last outing. The right-hander gave up four runs and six hits with four walks over five innings Wednesday in a 4-2 loss at Boston. The lack of control was disappointing after Jimenez didn't issue a walk in seven innings of his first start.
In two home starts last season against the Blue Jays, he allowed two runs in 14 innings while walking three and striking out 17.
Also coming off a rough outing is R.A. Dickey (1-2, 6.75), who allowed four runs - two earned - and six hits with four walks over 4 2/3 innings in Fridays' 5-3 loss to the Red Sox.
''I'm not disappointed in my knuckleball. I'm disappointed in the result, obviously,'' he said. ''My knuckleball has been pretty good. It's moving late, I'm keeping the ball in the ballpark.''
Dickey has a 7.45 ERA in his past two starts and hasn't pitched past the fifth inning in any of his three outings.
However, he's been very good in his past four games against the Orioles, posting a 2.28 ERA despite losing his only two decisions.
Chris Davis is 6 for 25 with two homers and eight strikeouts lifetime against Dickey, while Machado is 5 for 16 with two doubles.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones left after the sixth inning with a stomach virus, according to the team. He was sidelined earlier this month with soreness in his ribs.
''He was battling it a little bit right after batting practice,'' manager Buck Showalter said.