Orioles 11, Blue Jays 3

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Josh Towers had an awful time pitching against his former team, yet the throw that hurt him most wasn’t even directed toward the plate.

Towers’ throwing error fueled a four-run fourth inning that carried the Baltimore Orioles past the struggling Toronto Blue Jays 11-3 Friday night.

Jay Gibbons homered and Brian Roberts had three hits and two RBIs for the Orioles, who had 15 hits and have won seven of eight. Four of those wins have come against the Blue Jays, off to the worst start in franchise history (4-12).

Toronto trailed 3-2 before Baltimore pulled away in the fourth. After two hits and a walk loaded the bases, Towers hit Melvin Mora with a pitch, forcing in a run. Miguel Tejada then hit a tapper to the right side, and Towers threw the ball over the head of first baseman Carlos Delgado, allowing two runs to score.

Rafael Palmeiro capped the inning with an RBI single for a 7-2 lead.

“The turning point was that ball down the line,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “That added two runs and changed the momentum a little bit.”

Towers jumped in the air and grimaced as the ball skipped around in right field.

“I caught the ball and I had plenty of time to throw and I shanked it,” Towers said. “If I get him out it’s 4-2 and we’re still in the game. Maybe it’s a whole different game.”

That’s how things have been going for the Blue Jays, who have lost five of six.

“I thought it was a big part in how the game got out of hand,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “He hurried himself when he didn’t have to.”

Towers (0-1) had won seven straight decisions since Aug. 15.

Orioles starter Eric DuBose (2-2) allowed two runs and five hits, striking out three and walking two. He retired the last 12 batters.

“Early on, I was just trying to find a way. It was a grind,” the left-hander said. “Then things started to click, and I started getting my confidence.”

After DuBose and the Orioles fell behind 2-0 in the third, Baltimore scored three runs in the bottom half. Roberts got the last of three straight singles to drive in a run, Tejada hit a run-scoring grounder and Palmeiro followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Orioles piled it on in the fourth against Towers, who pitched for Baltimore in 2001 and 2002. He allowed seven runs, four earned, and eight hits in four innings.

Tejada doubled in a run in the sixth against Jason Kershner, and Gibbons’ third homer of the year sparked a three-run seventh against Aquilino Lopez.

If there was a positive aspect to the loss for Toronto, it’s that Delgado showed signs of breaking his lengthy slump at the plate. He doubled in a run in the third and hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth, giving him seven RBIs. He had a league-leading 145 last year, including 28 in April.

But the Blue Jays won’t get out of last place unless they get better production from their starting pitchers, who are a collective 1-10.

“That’s not good. We’re not throwing well,” Towers said. “We just haven’tbeen throwing the baseball, period. It showed again today.”

Notes

The Orioles optioned OF Tim Raines Jr. to Triple-A Ottawa and called up LHP Erik Bedard, who will start Saturday. … The start of the game was delayed 61 minutes by rain. … B.J. Surhoff went 3-for-3 for the Orioles and is 5-for-8 in his last two starts. … Delgado was 2-for-21 against left-handers before his third-inning double. … Toronto’s Vernon Wells singled in thefourth to break an 0-for-15 skid.

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