TORONTO (AP)—A.J. Burnett gave Toronto’s injury-riddled rotation another big boost.
Burnett pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts, Troy Glaus singled home the go-ahead run and the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Wednesday night for their first three-game sweep of the season.
“That was dominating,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He was a little erratic early on, but then he kicked it into gear.”
Burnett (4-3) walked two in his 17th career complete game and first since Sept. 2 at Boston. He also struck out 10 in his previous start, a 5-1 victory over Tampa Bay that ended Toronto’s nine-game losing streak.
“Everything revolves around his breaking ball,” Gibbons said. “When he’s in the zone with that, he gets a lot of swings and misses.”
It was the first time this year Burnett has won consecutive starts.
“He was able to throw that curveball real tight today and he kept it down,” Baltimore outfielder Jay Gibbons said. “It came out of his hand like a heater.”
“I was battling myself early,” Burnett said. “The play Hilly made fired me up and got my emotions going. I’m a lot better pitcher when I’m emotional.”
Toronto has won five of six since ending its nine-game slide.
“What started as a slow homestand finished very strong,” John Gibbons said.
Baltimore wasted a credible outing by Brian Burres (1-2) and lost its fifth straight, matching its longest skid of the year. The Orioles managed only five runs in the series.
“We didn’t do a thing with the bats,” Jay Gibbons said. “A lot of it was their pitching, but we can swing the bats better than that.”
“He’s been able to come up with some big hits,” Vernon Wells said about Glaus, who missed 16 games this season with a sore left heel. “Hopefully, we can keep him in the lineup.”
Burnett has found success at the right time for Toronto, which has seven pitchers on the disabled list, including starters Gustavo Chacin (shoulder), Roy Halladay (appendectomy), John Thomson (shoulder) and Victor Zambrano (forearm).
Burnett’s complete game came one day after rookie Jesse Litsch pitched 8 2-3 innings to beat Baltimore in his major league debut.
“Pitching is what’s going to win you ballgames and everybody knows that,” Wells said. “Our guys have stepped up to the challenge. With our offense struggling the way we have, it was huge for those guys to come out and give us some quality innings.”
Burnett, in the second season of a five-year, $55 million contract, threw 66 of his 103 pitches for strikes. He allowed Kevin Millar’s leadoff homer in the third and a pair of singles. Millar’s homer was his fourth.
Toronto tied the score at 1 in the fourth when Glaus was hit by a pitch, went to third on Frank Thomas’ single and scored on Hill’s single.
Alex Rios and Wells singled in the fifth before Glaus’ single put the Blue Jays ahead.
Making his third start of the season, Burres gave up two runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. He walked one and struck out six.
“I thought I pitched all right,” Burres said. “I threw a lot of strikes, and balls were hit where they weren’t supposed to be hit for me.”