- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2008

TORONTO (AP) | In the past three months, the Baltimore Orioles have found no comfort in being close.

Jose Bautista homered, pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun doubled home the tying and go-ahead runs in the sixth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 3-2 on Thursday night.

The last-place Orioles have lost 19 of 22 games and dropped their past nine series overall. Baltimore has gone 2-17 in one-run games since June 18 after starting the year 18-10 in such contests.

“It’s a matter of getting that hit at the right time,” first baseman Kevin Millar said. “We haven’t done that lately. Early on, things were going our way, and right now it’s been tough to get that big hit.”

Besides the hitters’ failings, left-hander Garrett Olson said Baltimore’s pitchers have struggled to get key outs in close games.

“It all comes down to those big pitches,” Olson (9-9) said. “I think we’re all capable of doing it, but sometimes we just don’t get it done. Bottom line, if you make your pitch, more times than not you’re going to get out of that situation.”

Right-hander Jesse Litsch (12-8) worked six innings to win for the third time in four starts, allowing two runs and four hits. He walked four and struck out six.

Litsch is 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA in seven starts since being recalled from Class AAA on Aug. 14.

“Ever since he’s come back up he’s thrown the ball a lot better. He’s used both sides of the plate,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “It seems he’s just getting better all the time.”

Brian Wolfe and Jesse Carlson worked 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth before B.J. Ryan survived a nervous ninth to earn his 31st save in 35 opportunities.

Ryan struck out Millar but loaded the bases when Luke Scott singled, Oscar Salazar walked and Jay Payton reached on catcher’s interference. Pinch-hitter Melvin Mora popped out, and Brian Roberts ended it with a grounder to short.

“Give Ryan credit. He made some good pitches and got out of it,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

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