x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Seventh loss on trot for Toronto

The Toronto Blue Jays lost their seventh consecutive game as Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-1 win on Monday evening.

The Toronto Blue Jays lost their seventh consecutive game as Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven strong innings to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-1 win on Monday evening. The Blue Jays led the American League East until they fell out of first place on Sunday and Monday's loss to the Orioles put them down to third behind the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as their sudden collapse in form threatens to completely undo their promising start to the season.

Toronto were the top hitting team in the major leagues until their decline in results - the Jays have managed just 11 runs in the seven losses to give a large hint as to what is to blame for their shock fall from grace. "In the first part of the season we were getting a lot of timely hits," the Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "Now we're just not getting hits with guys in scoring position. That will beat you every time in this league."

Gaston said his team will not panic even though the slump now has them one and a half games behind the front-running Red Sox, who the Jays had previously led by three and a half games before losing three in a row at Fenway Park last week to the Red Sox as part of the slide. "I've had teams that have won divisions and been in the World Series that went through this, too," Gaston said. "It does happen sometimes."

Aubrey Huff drove in two runs for the Orioles, who had lost 14 of their previous 17 games to Toronto dating back to last season, including five of their last six at Camden Yards. Brian Roberts scored twice for Baltimore. "Toronto has given us some hard times in the last couple years, and certainly they are playing good baseball this year," Roberts said. "So for us to beat a good team in our own division, yeah, I think that is something we can build on a little bit."

Guthrie gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out four. He allowed only three runners to reach second base after giving up a first-inning run. * Reuters