- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 10, 2010

BALTIMORE | In his debut with the Toronto Blue Jays, Dana Eveland decided to ignore his curveball and rely solely on the whim of catcher Jose Molina.

The result was unexpected, by all accounts.

“It was actually one of the weirdest games I’ve ever pitched in my entire life,” said Eveland, whose brilliant performance Saturday night carried the Blue Jays to a 3-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Eveland (1-0) allowed five hits in 7 1-3 innings, walking two and striking out two. The left-hander permitted only two runners to get past second base and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced.

“It was fastball-changeup all day,” Eveland said. “I’ve been a guy my whole entire career where I’ll (throw) 40 percent breaking balls in a game.”

And how many did he attempt against the Orioles?

“Five or six,” Eveland said.

That’s because Molina quickly realized that Baltimore was having trouble getting good wood on Eveland’s changeup.

“He knew what was going on,” Eveland said. “I kind of just went with him. I think I shook him (off) once the whole game.”

Said Molina: “When you have a team that is chasing a pitch you just keep trying to go with it until they show you that they can make that adjustment. Tonight the Orioles did not make that adjustment, and that’s why we took advantage of it.”

Baltimore’s Adam Jones, who went 0 for 4, said, “When Molina is behind the plate, he’s unpredictable. He calls a good game. He did it again.”

Molina did more than shine behind the plate. The veteran backup catcher — and Toronto’s No. 9 hitter — also drove in two runs to give Eveland all the offensive support he needed.

Edwin Encarnacion had two hits and scored twice for the Blue Jays, who have won four straight. Toronto is already 2-0 at Camden Yards after going 1-8 in 2009.

Eveland was 2-4 with a 7.16 ERA last year with Oakland, which sent him to Toronto in February for cash.

“He pitched well in spring training so I’m not surprised,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “He kept them off balance, changed speeds real well, hit the outside part of the plate. And Molina called a great game.”

Scott Downs got an inning-ending, double-play grounder in the eighth, and Jason Frasor got three outs for his third save.

Eveland outpitched Baltimore starter David Hernandez (0-1), who gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. The Orioles have lost Hernandez’s last 10 starts since Aug. 11, 2009.

“Hernandez pitched well, but their guy pitched better. That’s it,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. “We didn’t score any runs, had limited opportunities, needed a couple of hits and didn’t get them.

“But I’ll take the way Hernandez pitched. We’ll win some games if he pitches like that.”

It was Baltimore’s first game of the season that was not decided by one run. The Orioles are 1-4 despite scoring only five fewer runs than the opposition.

“We’ve played competitive baseball. The games are close,” Trembley said. “We haven’t gotten big hits when we needed them.”

Baltimore stranded runners at second and third in the second inning, and the Blue Jays failed to score in the third after putting runners on the corners with one out.

In the Toronto fourth, Encarnacion snapped a 1-for-13 skid with a two-out single and took third on a double by Alex Gonzalez. After an intentional walk to Travis Snider loaded the bases, Hernandez hit Molina with a pitch to force in a run.

The Blue Jays made it 2-0 in the sixth. A double by Encarnacion and a two-out intentional walk to Snider preceded an RBI single by Molina.

Adam Lind doubled home a run in the ninth.

NOTES: Orioles 2B Brian Roberts (abdominal sprain) did not play and expects to be sidelined for the next several days. He was replaced by Julio Lugo, who had two hits. … Blue Jays 2B Aaron Hill missed a third straight game with a sore right hamstring. Asked to project Hill’s return, Gaston said, “I’m thinking maybe Monday — if we’re lucky.” … Jones received his 2009 Gold Glove before the game, then extended his hitting slump to 1 for 17. … Orioles RF Nick Markakis walked twice and has eight BBs in five games.

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