Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays pay the price for walks in loss to Tampa Bay Rays
TORONTO - Brandon Morrow started with two walks, then regrouped. But his night finished with another walk and five unearned runs.
The Toronto starter's career-high four-game win streak came to an end in a 7-1 loss to Tampa on Monday night that turned ugly in a six-run fifth inning.
"Too many walks ... That was a tough fifth," said a muted Morrow (4-2). "Made some pitches to get out of it and then they kind of went out and got some good fastballs that were a touch off the plate. A couple of good pieces of hitting there, I guess, and (they) broke it open."
Morrow wobbled in the first, opening with two walks. But he recovered and did not yield a hit in the first four innings, striking out six.
Then the wheels fell off. Leading 1-0, Toronto gave up six runs in an inning that featured four hits, an error and wild pitch. Only the first run was earned as an error by first baseman Adam Lind and a wild pitch allowed the Rays batters to keep going with two outs.
Morrow exited after the inning, striking out seven and walking four while giving up four hits in total.
He threw 90 pitches, 56 for strikes. But Farrell said he didn't think his right-hander had the power he had shown recently.
Morrow hadn't lost since April 18, when he gave up six runs — including three homers — to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
In his four previous wins, he struck out 30 and had an 0.65 ERA. And in the first three of those, he gave up just one walk in total.
Morrow also gave up four walks in his last outing, a win over Oakland. He said he thought he had solved "a couple of mechanical things" only to "lose it for a few pitches."
He did not get much help from his teammates Monday.
"On a night when you're down a little bit offensively, that's where the pitching and defence has got to pick some things up and that wasn't the case tonight," manager John Farrell said.
He lamented the walks from his entire pitching staff, noting the Jays had given up 25 in the previous four days in Minnesota.
"Yes, we've issued far too many walks."
"And when you issue that many walks, we're creating issues for ourselves to have to battle through and pitch around. Particularly on a night where you put one up on the board offensively, those are going to contribute to a tough night," he added.