- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BALTIMORE | The smallest crowd in the 18-year history of Camden Yards included quite a few fans eager to see Baltimore Orioles right-hander Jason Berken in his major league debut.

Even though the weather was awful, the Berken backers thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Backed by three home runs, Berken got his big league career off to a memorable start by helping the Orioles defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Tuesday night.

Summoned from Class AAA Norfolk to replace Adam Eaton in the rotation, Berken (1-0) gave up two runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings.

“It was great. It’s obviously been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” he said. “To come out here and get a win, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Only 10,130 fans showed up on a miserable night in which temperatures dipped into the low 50s and a steady mist swirled through the stadium from the outset. Those in attendance included Berken’s parents, grandparents, his wife, a few uncles and aunts and several friends.

“It was a special night to share with everybody,” he said.

Marco Scutaro had three hits for the Blue Jays, who have lost eight straight — their longest skid since a nine-game run in May 2007. With three losses in Boston, three more in Atlanta and two in Baltimore, Toronto is mired in its longest road losing streak since an eight-game slide in 2002.

“We’re just in a rut right now,” Blue Jays designated hitter Kevin Millar said. “You just got to go out there and keep having good thoughts, and eventually it’s going to turn around. It definitely hasn’t been fun, but you got to dig deep.”

Berken retired the side in order only once but stranded five runners in scoring position.

Note - Catcher Matt Wieters, Baltimore’s top prospect, will join the big league club Friday for a home game against Detroit.

“He’s made the progress. The power’s starting to come. … It’s time. It’s time,” Orioles president Andy MacPhail said. “He’s done what he needed to do at that level. We just wanted to make sure we didn’t get into a circumstance where he had to go back [down]. So we’re reasonably comfortable that this is a good time for him, and we’re going to give him a shot.”

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