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TOR@BAL: Reynolds crushes a solo homer in the fifth

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have not won a series since June 26 against the Reds, a span of 11 series and 36 games.

The Orioles' 7-2 rubber-match defeat against Toronto on Sunday afternoon in front of 13,824 at Camden Yards continued the trend, as starter Alfredo Simon gave up six runs, four of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings, while his offense mustered just four hits against Blue Jays southpaw Ricky Romero.

"We've had a lot of rubber matches with teams, and we just can't get over that hump lately," said third baseman Mark Reynolds, who accounted for both of the Orioles runs with a pair of solo homers. His second blast, which traveled 450 feet, became just the second ball in Oriole Park history to land in the second deck of the left-field seats. "It's frustrating, but at the same time, we're going to keep going out and keep playing and just keep grinding at it every day, and try to win as many as we can going down the stretch."

The Orioles have won only three series against American League East foes this season, with the last series win coming May 13-15, when they took two of three games at Tampa Bay.

"It's frustrating, because ... we'd like to win all three," manager Buck Showalter said. "Where we are, we need to make up some ground just from a [win and loss] standpoint. I'm going to say I would settle for that. Chicago's coming in here for four, and hopefully, we get some of our people back and start playing a little more consistently. We'll see."

Consistency has been a problem for Showlater's club all season, as the O's are now 4-10 in rubber matches. The blame for the most recent dropped series could be directed to a number of different sources.

The Baltimore bats got off to a familiar delayed start after going hitless for five innings on Saturday night. In Sunday's loss, the O's did not reach base until the fourth frame, as Romero handled the Orioles with relative ease, allowing just two earned runs on four hits, with five strikeouts and no walks. Four Oriole batters reached base safely, including Reynolds, who recorded the team's fourth multi-homer game of the season.

But aside from Reynolds, Baltimore's offense was barely existent against Romero, who now holds a lifetime 3.10 ERA in 12 appearances against the O's.

"Throwing strikes helps," Romero said. "If you throw strikes, they're going to swing. A lot of times, me and [catcher J.P. Arencibia] just work well together, and we were just throwing strikes and making them put it in play, and a lot of those games came out swinging, and we got them out."

If Baltimore hopes to notch a series win against Toronto in either of the two remaining tries this season, it must find an answer for Romero.

"We didn't really get at him today too much, but we scored some runs off of him," Reynolds said. "Hopefully, next time we face him, we can put something together against him, because he's been tough against us all year."

While the Orioles struggled to give their starter run support, Simon was also having a difficult time against Toronto. He needed 97 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings, giving up four earned runs on 10 hits, with three strikeouts and no walks.

"He's pitched better," said Showalter of Simon. "You're always looking for guys you can trust about what they're going to do when they go out there. Command of the fastball was a challenge for him today. You're going to have to pitch real well to match up with someone like Romero, so there wasn't much margin for error."

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