BALTIMORE (AP) — Erik Johnson’s ERA is high, and so is his confidence.
Johnson endured another poor start for the San Diego Padres in a 7-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, yet the right-hander emerged from the outing with the unyielding belief that his struggle is only temporary.
“I’m on the cusp of breaking through and getting to the other side,” Johnson insisted after allowing six runs and nine hits in four innings.
Obtained in the trade that sent James Shields to the White Sox, Johnson (0-3) has a 9.82 ERA in his three starts with San Diego.
“For me, the progress I’m making and the way I feel about how things are going are that a lot of those one-run innings could have easily been zeros,” he said, referring to the Orioles pecking away with single runs in the second, third and fourth innings before chasing him during a three-run fifth.
Two of the runs against Johnson came on solo shots by Mark Trumbo and Ryan Flaherty. In his five starts this season, Johnson has allowed 12 home runs.
“You catch the middle of the plate to any of these big league power hitters at 88-91 (mph), you’re typically going to pay the price,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Matt Kemp drove in two runs for the Padres, whose streak of scoring at least five runs in six straight games ended. Travis Jankowski had two hits, two steals and scored twice.
Ubaldo Jimenez (4-7) gave up two runs and four hits in six innings, walking four and striking out seven. The right-hander lost his spot in the rotation earlier this month after a series of poor outings, including a clunker in Toronto on June 12 in which he yielded five runs and got only one out.
But Jimenez received this spot start after Mike Wright was demoted to the minors, and he overcame a shaky first inning to show some of the prowess the Orioles expected when they signed him to a four-year, $50 million contract in 2014.
Baltimore recorded its 27th win at home — most in the majors. The victory gave the Orioles a 1,000-959 record (including playoffs) at Camden Yards, their home since 1992.
When Jimenez fell behind 1-0 after facing only three batters, many of the fans began to grumble and more than a few booed.
But Trumbo tied it with his 21st home run leading off the second, and the Orioles finally took control when Flaherty homered to ignite an uprising that made it 6-2.
The Padres missed a chance to cut into the lead when Melvin Upton had a long drive to left veer outside the foul pole. San Diego also gave up a run after third baseman Yangervis Solarte misjudged a popup.
“I thought all-around it was not one of our better efforts,” Green said.
The agent for Padres closer Fernando Rodney has filed a protest to Major League Baseball regarding a scoring decision in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game, Green said. A grounder that hit first base and went through the legs of first baseman Wil Myers was ruled a hit, and as a result Rodney missed setting a team record for the longest stretch at the outset of a season without allowing an earned run.
Padres: OF John Jay missed a second straight game with a bruised right forearm after being hit by a pitch Sunday night against Washington. “It’s just one of those things where it’s going to take a few days before he’s ready to play baseball again,” Green said.
Orioles: LHP Brian Duensing (elbow) was placed on the 15-day DL and the team recalled LHP Ashur Tolliver from Triple-A Norfolk. Duensing will have bone chips removed and will be sidelined at least into August.
Padres: Christian Friedrich (3-2, 3.15 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series in Cincinnati on Thursday night.
Orioles: Baltimore hopes to savor a day off Thursday after playing 29 games in 30 days. The Orioles then play four games in three days against visiting Tampa Bay.