Chacin hit hard as Jays fall in finale

Chacin hit hard as Jays fall in finale

BALTIMORE -- Gustavo Chacin's stellar April hit a roadblock Sunday, as the Toronto left-hander couldn't make it out of the fifth inning in a 7-3 loss to the surging Baltimore Orioles, marking the Blue Jays' season-high fifth consecutive defeat.

"It's always frustrating when you lose, but it's the way we're losing right now," said second baseman Aaron Hill, who socked a solo homer, his third of the season. "We're not doing what we're supposed to be doing. We might get a couple of guys on and then -- boom -- double play. We're not getting the big hits at key moments. We're just not capitalizing on certain situations. We're not really doing much of anything, so it's got to turn around here."

Toronto, which has dropped the first trio of games in a seven-game road trip, was swept in a three-game series at Camden Yards for the first time since May 9-11, 1994. Baltimore, which got three RBIs apiece from Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada, has won four straight and eight of its last nine.

"You go through these stretches every year," manager John Gibbons said. "I don't care how good you are. You come out of it, and I think we are [going to]. Baseball's a cruel game sometimes. [The Orioles are] playing very good over there, and we're not right now."

Sunday's defeat started promisingly enough. Chacin (2-1) retired the first nine Orioles hitters he faced, while Hill's solo shot off Steve Trachsel with two down in the second inning gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

But Jay Payton ended the no-hit bid on Chacin's first pitch of the fourth inning, and after Payton's single, Melvin Mora drew a walk and Markakis plated both with a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in center field for a 2-1 lead. Tejada then brought home Markakis with a single to left to make it 3-1.

"[Chacin] got in trouble there in the fourth," Gibbons said. "He managed to get out of the inning, but everything started snowballing. Then the game got out of hand. He's been great all year, but he ran into a hot team that's very confident in swinging the bats."

Chacin, who entered Sunday 10-2 lifetime in April, allowed five hits, walked one and struck out one. Trachsel (1-1) went 5 1/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits, while walking four and fanning three.

With one out in the fifth, Payton ignited another rally with a single. Mora walked again and Markakis' double drove in a run and put runners at second and third. Victor Zambrano replaced Chacin, and Tejada cleared the bases with a two-run single. After the bases were loaded with two down on a hit batter and a walk, Corey Patterson ripped an RBI single to right.

"We're just not playing, we're not doing what we're capable of doing right now," lamented Hill. "It's definitely not fun for us. Maybe we're pressing a little hard, because we know we're a better team [than recently]. ... We've got to do something, because this can't be going on for much longer."

Alex Rios cut the final deficit to 7-3 with a two-run bases-loaded single in the ninth off Brian Burres. Designated hitter Frank Thomas, who's been scuffling along with an average under or near .200, had two hits Sunday and may finally be emerging from his early-season funk. The two singles, part of his first multihit game since April 7, lifted Thomas' average to .215.

"If I can show some patience, take some walks and get back in that groove of being a patient and picky hitter, things will turn around," said Thomas. "I'm frustrated, but I'm not going to get down on myself, because I know how quickly I can turn around."

The Blue Jays need to mirror Thomas' expected resurgence as a team, or they'll soon dig themselves a deep hole.

"We can't play much worse than we've been doing right now," Hill said. "We've really got to step it up. This team is 10 times better than what we're showing right now. [We need to] show some energy in Boston and use it to our advantage. Get in there and swing the bats and do what we've been doing. It's going to turn around."

Toronto was 6-3 at Fenway Park last year, so a revival against the Red Sox might not seem so far-fetched.

"It'll be good to get out of town," Gibbons joked. "I don't know if it'll be great to be where we're heading."

Hill maintains the Blue Jays aren't hanging their heads, even if a somber mood accompanies them to New England.

"Man, it doesn't kill your confidence, because we know you're going to go out there and do your best," Hill said. "But when you come away with a loss, we know we're not playing [that well]. When you go into the next day, it's, 'OK, let's do it. Today is the day.' We're not getting it right now -- it's not clicking, the hits aren't falling. It's just all-around kind of down right now."

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.