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TOR@BAL: McGowan picks up first win since June of '08

BALTIMORE -- Dustin McGowan dealt with a lot in recent seasons. He has been on the disabled list at times during each of the past six years and underwent shoulder surgeries in 2008 and 2010.

But McGowan kept battling back every time, and that's why there were plenty of smiles in the Toronto locker room Friday night. The right-hander earned his first win in nearly six years after throwing 6 1/3 shutout innings as the Blue Jays scored a 2-0 victory over the Orioles before 22,327 fans at Camden Yards.

McGowan (1-1) last won on June 22, 2008. He also bounced back from a shaky effort in his first start of the season, when the right-hander lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on eight hits in a loss against the Yankees. To make things tougher, McGowan had been tipping some of his pitches in that game, something that helped a potent New York lineup inflict even more damage.

This time, McGowan found much more success against the strong Orioles lineup. McGowan scattered five hits in his 6 1/3 innings in just his second start since Sept. 26, 2011 -- another reason so many Blue Jays (6-5) were rooting for him.

"It's kind of a sentimental night," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's come a long way, and he answered the bell. [It's] very rewarding for not only him but for everybody that knows him. He's had some tough luck along the way."

McGowan did a good job of often staying ahead in the count against the Baltimore lineup. He struck out two, walked just one and worked his way out of a few jams.

"The most important thing is just feeling good," McGowan said. "I got an opportunity to pitch again, and that's all I could ask for. It's something to build on. After the last one, I knew I needed to come out and have just a strong showing. I was more relaxed tonight and just focused on pitching."

McGowan also had a few good breaks, as the Orioles belted a few shots that wound up being just loud outs.

Chris Davis hit a pair of long blasts to center field, one of which McGowan didn't even turn around to watch as he thought the ball was surely gone. But it stayed in the park. Adam Jones also sent a long drive to deep left, and there were a few others, all of which wound up doing nothing.

"There were a couple of loud outs," said catcher Dioner Navarro. "But we'll take them."

Brett Cecil came on for McGowan and retired all five batters he faced. Sergio Santos then set down the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save this season.

The Blue Jays needed all of that good pitching because their offense couldn't do much against Orioles starter Chris Tillman (1-1), who allowed two unearned runs on just three hits in eight innings. One of the base knocks belonged to Melky Cabrera, who extended his hitting streak to 11 with an eighth-inning single. The Orioles (4-6), however, made two crucial errors in the fourth inning that helped Toronto score both of its runs.

Baltimore led the Majors in fielding last year and had made just one error so far this season, but third baseman Jonathan Schoop committed two throwing errors in the fourth that led to the two runs. His first error came on Jose Bautista's one-out grounder and let the right fielder reach first.

Bautista moved to second when Edwin Encarnacion singled, and then scored when Schoop's throw to second on an Adam Lind grounder sailed into right field. Encarnacion advanced to third on the play and scored when Navarro grounded into a force out to give the Jays a 2-0 lead.

"Through the years, when you look out on that column that says error, if you're leading that one on the bad side of it, you usually don't like your chances," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "When you play at this level there's a fine margin of error. We just had two or three things we didn't execute and they really get magnified in a game that both pitchers are pitching that well."

McGowan escaped his biggest trouble in the fifth inning when the Orioles loaded the bases with three straight two-out singles. Davis got the third hit, one that appeared to bring in Nick Markakis from second. Bautista even threw the ball towards third from right, but Markakis was held up at third, loading the bases.

Jones then flied to center, ending the inning and letting McGowan and the Blue Jays hold on to the 2-0 lead, an edge they never let go of. Comments