Bautista has slump-busting 3 hits, scores 4 runs as Blue Jays beat Orioles 12-5

BALTIMORE — Jose Bautista broke out of an early-season slump by going 3 for 3 and scoring four runs as the Toronto Blue Jays ruined the Baltimore Orioles’ home opener with a 12-5 victory Friday.

Josh Donaldson and Dioner Navarro each drove in three runs for the Blue Jays, who took control with a four-run first inning and led 10-1 in the fourth.

Mark Buehrle (1-0) earned his 200th career win, allowing one run and eight hits in six innings.

Bautista went 0 for 12 with eight strikeouts during Toronto’s opening three-game series in New York. Against the Orioles, he got a hit in each of his first three at-bats and added a walk before being replaced. He drove in two runs and tied his career high in runs scored.

Toronto finished with 16 hits, half of them doubles — including two by Dalton Pompey. After playing the spoiler’s role at Yankee Stadium for New York’s home opener Monday, the Blue Jays pulled off an encore at Camden Yards.

Adam Jones homered, had a career-high tying four hits and drove in two runs for the Orioles, now 41-21 in home openers since coming to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954. The 12 runs tie the most ever allowed by the Orioles in a home opener (a 12-0 loss to Milwaukee in 1988).

Bud Norris (0-1) allowed eight runs and seven hits in three-plus innings. He was 4-0 lifetime against Toronto and had won nine straight decisions against AL East foes.

The Orioles won two of three on the road against Tampa Bay before returning home for their first game at Camden Yards since October.

The pregame festivities included a video montage of the Orioles’ run to the 2014 AL Championship Series, plenty of fireworks and Jones and J.J. Hardy receiving their Gold Glove Awards. Also, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer threw out the ceremonial first pitch to 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey.

Under an overcast sky and with rain in the forecast, Norris began the game with a first-pitch strike that drew a huge cheer. Soon after that, Toronto dampened much of the enthusiasm from the sellout crowd of 45,936.

The first-inning uprising began with three straight hits, including an RBI single by Bautista. Edwin Encarnacion added a sacrifice fly and Dioner Navarro doubled in two runs.

Jones connected in the bottom half to make it 4-1, but the Blue Jays got that run back in the third when Bautista doubled and scored on a fly ball.

Toronto chased Norris and batted around in a five-run fourth. Pompey and Donaldson each hit a two-run double and Bautista singled in a run.


Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders (left knee surgery) won’t be rushed back from a rehabilitation assignment that began with an 0-for-3 performance Thursday with Class A Dunedin. “You want him to get plenty of at bats,” manager John Gibbons said. “He looks good.”

Orioles: OF David Lough (hamstring) was slated to play in an intrasquad game in Sarasota, Florida, before flying to Baltimore. He could go on rehab assignment Saturday or be activated from the DL.


Blue Jays: RH Aaron Sanchez will make his first major league start Saturday night. He pitched in 24 games last season as a rookie.

Orioles: RH Ubaldo Jimenez returns to the rotation after struggling in 2014. “I didn’t show anything at all last year. It was a tough season,” he acknowledged.

David Ginsburg, The Associated Press

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