Kendrys Morales took his cuts, and the ball didn’t go out of the park.
It happens all the time to the best players in the land. On this occasion, however, Morales’ homerless performance ended his attempt to make baseball history.
Morales had his home run streak snapped at seven games by the Baltimore Orioles, who ended an eight-game skid by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-0 on Monday night.
Striving to tie the major league record of homering in eight straight games, Morales went 0 for 3 with a walk and did not hit the ball out of the infield. In his final chance, he swung through a slider from Paul Fry to strike out in the eighth inning.
“It had to end sooner or later,” Morales said through a translator. “I couldn’t expect it to go on forever.”
Then, with a smile, he added, “Maybe I hit another 10, 15, but it had to end.”
Though he failed to match the mark shared by Dale Long, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr., Morales owns the big league record for successive games with a home run by a switch-hitter. He also owns the franchise record for consecutive games with a long ball.
“It’s an incredible feat,” manager John Gibbons said. “He took his rips. He’ll move on. Who knows? He might hit a couple tomorrow.”
Facing Baltimore rookie David Hess, against whom he homered last week, Morales struck out in the first inning, grounded out in the fourth and drew a four-pitch walk in the sixth.
“There were only about two pitches that I didn’t swing at that were strikes,” Morales said. “Maybe I did not get my best chances tonight. I don’t feel bad about not hitting one.”
Morales endured an 0-for-29 skid in May and had only 14 homers on Aug. 14 before launching his improbable streak.
“I never thought I would do something like that in my life, so I am really happy I did it,” he said. “It was incredible.”
Hess (3-8) tossed six innings of four-hit ball to earn his first win since May 25. He was 0-7 in his previous 12 starts, though he did pitch very well against Toronto his last time out.
The game was scoreless until the Orioles broke through in the sixth against Sam Gaviglio (3-7). After Chris Davis drove in a run by hitting into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, Trey Mancini hit a three-run homer to send Baltimore on its way to its first win since Aug. 18.
Mancini added a two-run double in the seventh and scored on a single by Tim Beckham. The five RBIs for Mancini matched his career high.
The Orioles improved to 2-12 against Toronto.
Stopping Morales was part of it.
“It was a hot hitter in their lineup,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You knew you were going to have to make some good pitches. He’s in a really good spot; the ball’s looking real big for him now.”
OLDIE BUT GOODIE
Toronto reliever Murphy Smith became the oldest Blue Jay to make his major league debut, at 31 years and 2 days. He has pitched in 277 minor league games.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) will start a rehab assignment Tuesday at Class A Dunedin. He has been sidelined since May 29. ... INF Brandon Drury (broken left hand) had imaging done and is scheduled for another MRI later in the week, Gibbons said. ... INF Yangervis Solarte (right oblique strain) has started strengthening exercises. ... RHP Marcus Stroman (middle finger) has started catching and throwing progressions.
Orioles: Rookie CF Cedric Mullins returned after missing Sunday night’s game with a sore hip.
Blue Jays: LHP Thomas Pannone (1-0, 1.59 ERA) seeks his second big league victory in his second career start Tuesday night. He blanked the Orioles over seven innings last Wednesday in his starting debut.
Orioles: Josh Rogers, one of the players acquired from the Yankees in the trade for Zach Britton, will start Tuesday in his major league debut.