Orioles 2, Blue Jays 0
Record aside, Guthrie remains focused on his own performance. He had every reason to be happy Friday night.
''You can't ever lose a game if you give up zero runs,'' Guthrie said. ''That's the ultimate job a pitcher can do.''
The major league leader in losses, Guthrie (7-17) came in having won just once in his past six starts and was seeking to avoid setting a career high for defeats. The right-hander made sure of that in a stellar outing. He walked three and struck out five.
''It was all about Jeremy tonight,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ''He was solid. He commanded the fastball. When it's there for him, he presents a lot of issues.''
Catcher Matt Wieters was pleased with Guthrie's effort.
''He had all four pitches working,'' Wieters said. ''He was able to keep his tempo and keep his pace all night. It seemed like he was in control throughout the whole game.''
As much as he'd like to avoid losing 20, Guthrie said he learned years ago not to get too wrapped up with his own record.
''Baseball teaches you that so many things are out of your control,'' he said. ''My first season in Baltimore was a big lesson. I felt like I had a chance to win a lot of games. To get a 'W' next to your name, a lot of things have to happen. You're dependent on four things: your execution, your defense, your offense and the bullpen. I can only control one of four, which means I have 25 percent control over getting a 'W' or an 'L' next to my name at the end of the day.''
Baltimore opened the scoring with an unearned run in the sixth, taking advantage of a throwing error by Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson. Robert Andino led off with a single but was erased at second on J.J. Hardy's fielder's choice. Johnson overthrew first base as he tried to complete the double play, allowing Hardy to move to second. One out later, Guerrero drove in Hardy with a single to left.
''He hit a great pitch, curveball down,'' Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil said. ''That's just the type of hitter he is. Seems like you can never fool him.''
The Orioles benefited from another missed double-play opportunity by Toronto in the eighth. With one out and runners at the corners, Nick Markakis grounded into a fielder's choice, with Hardy forced out at second. Markakis beat the relay throw from Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar on a bang-bang play at first, allowing Ryan Adams to score from third. Toronto manager John Farrell did not dispute umpire Jim Wolf's call.
The hard-luck loser was Cecil (4-9), who has not won since July 29 against Texas, a span of eight starts. Cecil allowed two runs, one earned, and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out a season-high nine.
''(Cecil) was really good,'' Showalter said. ''The key to being in that ballgame is the pitching job our guy did to try and match up with him because you're not going to beat him unless you get a similar outing from your guy.''
Cecil had to jump over the jagged end of Adam Jones' bat after the Orioles' outfielder got sawn off in the fourth inning. The barrel of the bat bounced off the mound, with Cecil kicking his legs up to avoid being struck. Jones eventually struck out.
A throwing error by first baseman Mark Reynolds and a walk to Yunel Escobar gave the Blue Jays runners at first and second with one out in the eighth, but Strop got Eric Thames to ground into a double play.
''That was probably the one legitimate and true opportunity we had to mount something,'' Farrell said.
Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek made his first appearance since June 12, coming out of the bullpen to work the ninth. Drabek was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas after going 4-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 14 starts.
NOTES: Jose Bautista slammed his bat into the padded railing at the top of the dugout steps after striking out swinging to begin the seventh. ... Guthrie also lost 17 games in 2009. ... Guthrie passed 1,000 innings for his career. He's pitched 1,001 1-3 innings over eight seasons. ... Toronto was shut out for the eighth time this season. ... Orioles INF Chris Davis, who was activated of the DL Tuesday after missing more than three weeks with an injured right shoulder, took extra BP before the game but was held out of the starting lineup. Davis had played the past three games. ... Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said RHP Jason Berken's return is ''imminent.'' Berken has been out since Aug. 22 with a strained right forearm. ... Toronto OF Colby Rasmus (right wrist) will play two rehab games with Double-A New Hampshire Saturday and Sunday and is expected to come off the DL and rejoin the Blue Jays Tuesday in Boston. Toronto is off Monday. Rasmus has not played since Aug. 23.