Blue Jays 8, Orioles 5

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BALTIMORE (AP)—After finding their lost hitting stroke in Baltimore, the Toronto Blue Jays headed home looking to sustain the positive feeling created by their first road sweep of the season.

If the Blue Jays are fortunate, they will avoid duplicating what happened to the Orioles, who learned that momentum can be fleeting—even when you’re playing at home.

Eric Hinske and Vernon Wells homered, and Toronto completed a three-game sweep of the sinking Orioles with an 8-5 victory Sunday.

The Blue Jays had lost four straight and 13 of 15 before coming to Baltimore, where they had 41 hits in dispatching the Orioles by a combined 32-13 score.

“We haven’t been swinging the bats like we were last year,” Wells said, “so hopefully this will be a starting block for us and we continue to roll from here.”

Miguel Tejada went 4-for-5 with a homer, three doubles and five RBIs for the Orioles, who had won 11 of 13 before being outscored 51-18 during an 0-6 homestand against Oakland and Toronto. Tejada boosted his league-leading RBI total to 113.

But that was little consolation to the Orioles, whose unexpected collapse at home dropped them eight games under .500.

“We had a lot of momentum coming in, we were playing great baseball,” first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. “We never saw it coming. We were on a high. But that’s just how baseball is.”

Palmeiro went 2-for-23 during the homestand and was 0-for-5 Sunday despite hitting two drives to the warning track.

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball good. No results,” he said.

The same could be said for Baltimore’s starters, who compiled an 18.62 ERA in the series by surrendering 20 runs in 9 2-3 innings. On Sunday, rookie Erik Bedard gave up seven runs, six hits and two walks while using 72 pitches to get only eight outs.

“You only go as far as your pitching, and we just didn’t pitch well the last few games,” manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Justin Miller (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings to earn his first victory since May 9. It was the right-hander’s third start since returning from a two-month stay on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

His task was made easier by the Toronto offense, which amassed eight runs and eight hits over the first four innings.

“We played good the whole series, we really did,” interim manager John Gibbons said. “We deserved to win.”

Jason Frasor, the fifth Toronto pitcher, got the final two outs for his 16th save. He retired Jay Gibbons on a fly ball to right field to end the game and escape a bases-loaded jam.

In addition to getting poor pitching throughout the series, the Orioles stranded 13 runners Sunday and 25 in the three games.

Baltimore used doubles by David Newhan and Tejada to go up 1-0 in the first, but the lead didn’t last long.

Hinske put the Blue Jays ahead for good in the second, hitting his 13th home run after singles by Carlos Delgado and Alexis Rios. It was Hinske’s second three-run shot of the series and third homer in six games following a 16-day drought.

Toronto made it 7-1 in the third. After Wells hit a two-run homer, Bedard walked the next two batters and was lifted after yielding a two-run single to Chris Woodward.

“They just came out swinging the bats,” Palmeiro said. “We got down early and couldn’t recover.”

Tejada hit his 24th home run with a man on in the Orioles’ half, but the Blue Jays took an 8-3 lead in the fourth when Eddy Rodriguez hit Delgado with a pitch with the bases loaded.

Baltimore put runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth, but Melvin Mora was cut down at the plate while trying to score on a fly ball to Rios in right field.

The Orioles loaded the bases against Kevin Frederick in the sixth before Justin Speier retired Mora on a pop to short. Tejada doubled in two runs in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough.

“Everything is clicking right now—at least for three games,” John Gibbons said. “Hopefully, maybe we can carry this over and have a good series against Boston. We’ll see.”


Toronto LF Reed Johnson collided with the outfield wall after making an excellent running catch in the fourth. He remained in the game. … Tejada played in his 716th consecutive game. When he returns to Oakland on Monday for the first time since leaving the Athletics, he will match Ernie Banks for the 14th-longest streak in major league history.

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