Walker won as a starter for the first time since 2002 and the
Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Wednesday night.
Walker (3-0) pitched in Japan last year and was effective as a
long reliever this season before being inserted into the rotation
because David Bush and Chad Gaudin were struggling. Walker allowed
two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings for his first win as a
starter since Sept. 27, 2002, against Detroit. He struck out three
and walked none.
"I enjoyed being out there. I like starting, but I also was
comfortable down in the pen doing what I was doing," said Walker,
who has a 1.51 ERA.
Walker threw 75 pitches. He's expected to remain in the rotation
until at least the All-Star break.
"He gave us a big boost. He threw a lot of pitches for what
he's been doing this year," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
"It was just a big win."
Baltimore's Larry Bigbie gave Walker credit.
"You have to tip your hat," Bigbie said. "He used both sides
of the plate, had movement on his pitches and kept us
Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro hit his 561st career homer, two from
tying Reggie Jackson for ninth on the all-time list. Palmeiro is
also 17 hits shy of 3000.
Miguel Batista pitched 1 2/3 innings for his 13th save as the
Blue Jays moved back to .500 (36-36) and are in fourth place, 6½
games behind the first-place Orioles.
Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora missed the game with a
strained right hamstring and is listed as day to day.
"It's too early to tell when he's going to be back," trainer
Richie Bancells said.
Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera (5-7) lost his third straight
start, allowing three runs on five hits in five innings. He struck
out seven and walked three. He threw 100 pitches, 62 for strikes.
"He got his pitch count up high too early," Baltimore manager
Lee Mazzilli said. "He had 100 pitches in the fifth inning. I
wanted him to go deeper but he just couldn't do it."
Gibbons said Cabrera has the best young arm in baseball.
"You try to hit a 98 mph fastball, and a 85, 86 mph hook, it's
not easy," Gibbons said. "He battled, but we got the big break
with the balk."
Bigbie singled in the third and scored on Brian Roberts' RBI
Gabe Gross led off Toronto's third with a triple and scored on
Orlando Hudson's RBI grounder to tie it 1-all.
Palmeiro gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead in the fourth his 10th homer
of the season.
But Shea Hillenbrand hit an RBI grounder in the fifth, and Russ
Adams scored on Cabrera's run-scoring balk to make it 3-2.
The Orioles placed OF B.J. Surhoff on the 15-day disabled
list with a strained muscle above his ribcage, and recalled
outfielder David Newhan from Triple-A Ottawa. Newhan is back up
after getting sent down Sunday when Luis Matos was activated off
the DL. In 40 games with the Orioles, he hit .194 with three homers
and 12 RBI. ... Hill had 40 hits in his first 30 games, tying him
with Al Woods (1977) for the most in club history after 30 games.
... Toronto's Hudson robbed Jay Gibbons with a diving stop on a
grounder in the ninth.