Baltimore (5-4) at Toronto (3-7)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 30° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sat Apr 17, 2004
  • TV: WJZ, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kurt Ainsworth was pounded in his first start as a Baltimore Oriole. But he’s had plenty of time to make some adjustments.

Ainsworth will look to rebound from his disastrous first outing as the Orioles resume their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ainsworth allowed seven earned runs and seven hits in just 1 2-3 innings of a 10-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on April 7.

“You just get anxious to get back out there and move on from that outing,” he said. “I just want to prove I am a better pitcher than that, and I only went 1 2-3 innings, so it’s not like I really got any work in.”

The right-hander, who was acquired at the trade deadline last season as part of the deal that sent Sidney Ponson to San Francisco, had his second start moved back to Saturday because of rainouts at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“There is really nothing you can do about it,” manager Lee Mazzilli said. “Ainsworth is the one who is having to make the most adjustments. I wish we could just get back to normal.”

Ainsworth missed much of last season with a broken right shoulder blade and made just three relief appearances for the Orioles. However, Baltimore is hoping that he can bring another strong arm to their young rotation, led by Ponson, who returned to the team in the offseason.

“The competitor in me can’t wait to get back out there,” said Ainsworth, who is the second-most experienced pitcher in the rotation behind Ponson. “I have a lot to prove, that I can be a reliable pitcher on this staff. This long wait just makes me more anxious.”

Toronto starter Josh Towers will also be looking to shake off some rust Saturday. The Blue Jays’ fifth starter has not been needed in the rotation yet this season, and did not see any action as a long reliever out of the bullpen.

“I think you lose control more than anything, and you lose feel too,” said Towers of the long layoff. “Most pitches are feel pitches, and flat ground’s a lot different than actual game situations. I’ve thrown my share of bullpens, but those are always different, too.”

Towers had a promising first season for Toronto in 2003, going 8-1 with a 4.48 ERA in 14 appearances, including eight starts.

The Blue Jays are hoping that Towers can last for 50 to 60 pitches Saturday.

“I’m going to be pretty amped up,” Towers said.

The Orioles pounded the Blue Jays 11-2 on Friday for their second straight win and third in four games. Javy Lopez, Rafael Palmeiro and Jay Gibbons homered for Baltimore.

Josh Phelps had a home run for Toronto, which managed just two hits.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Ainsworth LAD vs. J. Towers LAD
0-1 Record 9-9
9.68 ERA 5.11
20 K 51
20 BB 26
1.92 WHIP 1.50