Purcey builds case for '10 with win over O's

BY foxsports • September 22, 2009

David Purcey was handed a spot in Toronto's rotation this spring but lasted just five starts before being demoted to the minor leagues. On Monday night, he made his pitch for a longer look in 2010.

Lyle Overbay and John McDonald homered, Purcey won for the first time in more than a year and the Blue Jays beat Baltimore 9-2, handing the Orioles their fifth straight loss.

Toronto has won 11 of 13 home games against Baltimore and 25 of 35 dating to 2006.

"His breaking pitches were nasty, his fastball was sneaky," Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora said of Purcey. "He was good, he was really good."

Purcey (1-2) had not won since pitching eight shutout innings on Sept. 7, 2008, against Tampa Bay. The left-hander allowed one run and four hits in a season-high 7 2-3 innings Monday. He walked four and struck out four.

It was Purcey's second start since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Sept. 8. He allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings at Detroit last Monday.

"The last two outings he's been good," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "He struggled to start off, balls and strikes, as he normally would, but he came back and pitched a great game for us there."

Toronto's first-round draft pick in 2004, Purcey is battling fellow young lefties Brett Cecil and Mark Rzepczynski for a starting spot in 2010. Despite the competition, he's trying not to approach each outing as an audition.

"I'm getting an opportunity now to pitch and that's all I can ask for," Purcey said. "That's what I want to do, try to make the most of it."

Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Travis Snider each hit a two-run single for the Blue Jays, who batted around in the third and eighth innings.

Attendance was 11,598, the third straight game Toronto has drawn fewer than 12,000 fans. Toronto's all-time low is 10,074, set April 17, 1979, against the Chicago White Sox.

"Fans were coming out when we were winning, they were supporting us," Gaston said before the game. "I think that's what we have to do, we have to put a winning club out there on the field and I think they'll come back. Simple as that."

Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but Shawn Camp came on and got Mora to ground into a fielder's choice.

Right-hander Jason Frasor gave up a sacrifice fly to Felix Pie in the ninth.

Orioles rookie Chris Tillman (2-4) allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus innings. He walked three and struck out five.

"He gives you glimpses and he shows you at times what he's going to be all about," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "That's what excites you about him. Then he kind of runs into a little bit of a wall and has trouble finishing off hitters."

Pie's RBI single gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead in the second but Toronto took the lead with a three-run third. Lind singled home two runs and, after Vernon Wells grounded out, Tillman walked three straight batters, including one to Snider with the bases loaded.

Tillman, who had walked only 20 batters in 58 innings coming in, was at a loss to explain his sudden lapse in control.

"That was one of those things where it just all of a sudden hits you and then it's gone," Tillman said. "I was like 'How did that just happen? What just happened?' I got in the dugout after that inning. I was mad but I was shocked more than mad. I don't know what happened there."

Overbay chased Tillman with a leadoff homer to right in the sixth, his 15th.

Left-hander Alberto Castillo got two outs before Trembley brought in right-hander Cla Meredith to face McDonald, who homered to left, his third. The drive snapped an 0-for-13 slump.

"To me, that was a pivotal run," Trembley said.

Encarnacion and Snider hit two-run singles in a four-run eighth, with all the runs charged to right-hander Bob McCrory.

Nick Markakis entered in a 5-for-40 slump but hit a leadoff single in the second and scored Baltimore's first run. Trembley said Markakis could get his first day off this season on Tuesday. Markakis has started 149 of Baltimore's 150 games. He came off the bench in a June 21 victory at Philadelphia.


Blue Jays SS Marco Scutaro has a tear in his right heel and is likely done for the season, Gaston said. ... Toronto LHP Brian Tallet, who left his last start after he was hit on the right foot by a line drive, is expected to start Tuesday against Baltimore, Gaston said. ... The roof was closed when the game began, opened in the early innings, then closed again in the eighth. ... Baltimore is 6-24 in road games against AL East opponents.