Impressive play away from Camden Yards and unexpected effectiveness from journeyman left-hander Bruce Chen helped propel Baltimore to a long stay atop the AL East.
The lack of either of late has helped the Orioles lose that lofty perch.
Hoping to correct his own problems and help his team get back into the divisional lead, Chen will be on the mound for the Orioles when they continue their interleague series with the Atlanta Braves.
The Orioles, who had sole possession of first place in the AL East for 62 consecutive days before falling into second on Friday, have lost eight of their last 10 on the road after starting 18-8 away from Baltimore.
At one time the Braves’ top pitching prospect, Chen has lost four of his last five starts, and is coming off his worst outing of the season.
In Sunday’s 11-2 defeat at Toronto, Chen allowed a season-high six runs and nine hits over five innings.
“Sometimes I have a tendency to be lazy and not finish my pitches,” Chen said. “Obviously, I didn’t have my A game. They hit me and they hit me good.”
Baltimore finds itself a half-game behind Boston in the AL East thanks to Friday’s 7-5 loss, coupled with the Red Sox’s 8-0 win in Philadelphia.
“That’s fine. That’s why it’s a long season,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “Tomorrow it could flip-flop again.
“We’ve got to scratch right now. We’ve got some nicks in our team right now. They leave everything on the field, they don’t have to come in this clubhouse and hang their heads.”
With their win Friday, the Braves, who have won six of eight, moved past the Phillies and into second place in the NL East.
“There’s not just one person who can carry a whole team, but if any one person can, it’s Andruw,” Giles said.
Jones moved into a tie with Chicago’s Derrek Lee for the NL lead in home runs with his 22nd.
“I’m just trying to keep swinging,” Jones said. “We got pitches to hit, and we hit them.”
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