TORONTO — When Aaron Hill's fourth-inning drive slammed into the camera well over the center-field wall, Orioles starter Brad Bergesen pounded his fist into his glove before stepping back onto the Rogers Centre mound and getting a new ball.
He would have to repeat that act in the fifth inning after Jose Bautista deposited a pitch just below the second deck in left-center field for a three-run homer -- and again two batters later, when Adam Lind's line drive just got over the right-field wall for a solo shot.
It's getting really old both for the Orioles, who are rightfully tired of watching their young starters melt down on a daily basis, and for Bergesen, who simply can't get major league hitters out with the way he has pitched this season. In a woeful performance that could lead to his third demotion in little more than three months, Bergesen was torched for eight runs in five-plus innings and the Orioles were beaten again by the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-5, in front of an announced 17,422.
Entering the night, the Orioles were 0-9 this season against the Blue Jays and 0-7 on Mondays, a toxic mix that foretold a long and difficult night. For much of the game, it was every bit as bad as you would imagine as Toronto built an 8-0 lead by the bottom of the fifth inning before the Orioles (31-68) made a game of it, mainly because of catcher Matt Wieters.
Bergesen's horrific outing and another loss -- the Orioles are 2-9 since the All-Star break -- marred the best offensive game of Wieters' young career. In his second game since being activated from the disabled list, Wieters hit a home run to each side of the field, drove in three runs and walked twice.
"I felt good tonight," Wieters said. "I was able to take some pitches early, and it made me feel a little more comfortable up there at the plate. That's something we can try and take into tomorrow."
Luke Scott, who was named American League Player of the Week earlier in the day, also continued his torrid stretch with a two-run homer.
The Orioles, playing without first baseman Ty Wigginton, who started serving a two-game suspension Monday night, pounded out 10 hits, including two by Brian Roberts, but it still wasn't enough to erase the damage done by Bergesen.
In 10 losses to the Blue Jays this season, the Orioles have been outscored 57-21, including by a 25-8 margin in four losses at Rogers Centre. They also have been out-homered 21-4 in the season series.
On Monday night, the Blue Jays had seven extra-base hits, including three home runs, by the fifth inning. The most extra-base hits the Orioles had allowed in a game all season was seven, and that happened the previous day as part of the Minnesota Twins' 19-hit attack in a 10-4 victory at Camden Yards.
The eight earned runs Bergesen allowed were a career high, and the 10 hits he surrendered mean he has given up 39 hits over his past four starts, spanning 22 1/3 innings. He has lost five straight outings and seven straight decisions to fall to 3-9, and he remains winless since May 12, a span of 10 starts.
After Monday night, his ERA stands at 6.95, and there appears to be a good chance he'll make his next start at Triple-A Norfolk and again be given an opportunity to work on both his command and confidence away from the bright lights of the major leagues. Triple-A left-hander Zach Britton is the most likely candidate to replace him in the rotation, though the Orioles can also again turn to Chris Tillman, who didn't pitch well in his last start for Norfolk.
"At this point, at the end of July with two months left, I'm still going to work on things," Bergesen said. "But from a personal standpoint, you never want to go down. If it happens, it happens, it's something I'm going to have to live with. You can't argue the move if that's the case."
But it might not been as easy a decision as it seems simply because none of the Orioles' young starters is pitching well. If you take away Jeremy Guthrie's two second-half outings, the Orioles' rotation has worked just 41 1/3 innings in nine games, allowing 49 earned runs (10.67 ERA) and 64 hits.
Only four times in the first 11 games of the second half have Orioles starters lasted six innings or longer, and the bullpen has thrown just eight fewer innings than the starters in the 11 games during the second half.
"We just cannot continue to go down this path," Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said. "Somebody has to step up and go deep in these games or those guys in the bullpen are going to need a new set of arms. We just can't continue to do that."
Luckily for the Orioles, Matt Albers came into Monday's game and logged the final three innings, allowing one run. He gave the rest of the bullpen a rest and provided the offense with a chance to at least make a game of it, which they did. Miguel Tejada came up as the potential tying run in the eighth inning, but David Purcey got him to pop out to end an 0-for-5 night for the Orioles third baseman.