Jays' bats solve O's Trachsel in win
Hill homers in four-run fourth inning; Marcum solid again
BALTIMORE -- The road has proved to be a calamitous foe for the Blue Jays for the past few seasons. Toronto's latest venture outside Canada included stops at a pair of especially unfriendly confines.
The Blue Jays were charged with heading to the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington in Texas -- a proverbial House of Horrors for Toronto -- and to Camden Yards in Baltimore. The latter stop included an appearance by Orioles veteran pitcher Steve Trachsel, who entered Tuesday's tilt unbeaten against the Jays.
This five-game swing for the Blue Jays was a time for change. With Tuesday's 11-3 romp over Baltimore, Toronto bucked some unfortunate trends and completed its road trip with four victories, including a sweep of the Rangers in Texas, and a trouncing of Trachsel in Charm City.
"It was a good road trip," Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill said. "Especially because in the past we haven't done well against Texas and the road trip that followed. [The Orioles] have been playing well, so it's good to walk out of here with one."
Truth be told, Toronto ran away with this one.
The Blue Jays (8-6) notched a season-high 11 runs and churned out a season-best 16 hits -- highlighted by a three-run home run by Hill in a decisive four-run third inning. Trachsel, who entered the game 6-0 in his career against the Jays, lasted just 2 1/3 innings and absorbed the loss for the Orioles (8-6).
With the victory, the Jays improved to 5-3 outside Toronto this season, moving one road win shy of being three games over .500 away from home for the first time since May 11, 2005. Last season, the Jays finished 34-47 on the road, with a 4-5 mark in Baltimore and an 0-3 record in Texas, where Toronto is now 6-16 dating back to '04.
Over the weekend, the Blue Jays earned three wins over the Rangers, picking up the first sweep of an American League foe in a series of three or more games since Aug. 20-22, 2004. Taking that one step further, it represented the first sweep of Texas on the road since April 1985.
Toronto's final win in Texas came in 10 innings on Sunday -- the same day closer B.J. Ryan was activated from the disabled list after being sidelined nearly a year with a left elbow injury. On Monday and Tuesday, injured third baseman Scott Rolen joined the team in Baltimore to take batting practice after breaking his right middle finger at the end of Spring Training.
Rolen isn't expected to be activated from the DL until later this month or early May, but his presence, along with Ryan being back in the fold, have provided a glimpse of the team Toronto planned on fielding this season. Tuesday's win, combined with the trip overall, provided examples of the kind of club the Jays are trying to be.
"Absolutely, this was a huge road trip for us," Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay said, "especially sneaking that last game in against Texas. Trachsel, we could've easily lost the way we've played against him.
"But it just shows that we've made adjustments and we got the right guys up at the right time to kind of punish him and put some pressure on him."
Trachsel (1-2) was chased from the game before the end of the third inning after yielding five runs -- three on Hill's homer -- on five hits. The was more than ample support for Toronto starter Shaun Marcum (2-0), but the Blue Jays didn't cease in their relentless offensive attack.
"That's the first time we've broken through on him," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, referring to Trachsel. "That was big. We haven't been able to do that. He's had our number, but tonight we got him."
Following Trachsel's exit, Toronto pounced on Baltimore relievers Greg Aquino and Dennis Sarfate for a combined six runs by the time it was all said and done. Every player in Toronto's starting lineup had at least one hit, seven Jays recorded at least one RBI and the team finished 10-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
"I think today was probably the best we've shown so far," Hill said, "as far as hitting and just producing runs and everything. I liked it. I liked what we brought to the table today.
"If we can just find some way to just keep that consistency, this team's going to do great, because our pitching staff is unbelievable."
True enough, considering Marcum's effort was nearly lost among the pile of runs and plethora of hits in a game that dragged past three hours in length. Marcum spun 6 2/3 strong innings in which he allowed two runs -- solo home runs by Baltimore's Nick Markakis and Adam Jones -- on four hits with four strikeouts.
The win upped the record of Toronto's rotation to a combined 7-2 -- good enough to lead all AL starting staffs with a .778 winning percentage. Marcum has led the way for the Jays with a 2.61 ERA through three outings, though his latest performance was overshadowed by the outburst of Toronto's bats.
"It was a great night," Gibbons said. "We did everything. We pitched very well -- Marcum -- and we hit. We had some good at-bats. Tonight we had a little bit of everything."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.