Orioles 9, Blue Jays 2
Making his third straight start as the DH while nursing a hyperextended left knee, Tejada singled in a run in the third inning, singled and scored in the sixth and hit a two-run homer in the eighth.
“I know that I can’t play defense and I’ve got to do something for the team, so I do it with my bat,” said Tejada, who hopes to return to the field Wednesday when the Orioles play at Texas.
Despite the injury, Tejada extended his consecutive games streak to 945, the seventh-longest run in major league history. He’s not just showing up, either— he leads the AL with a .423 batting average and ranks first in hits (47) and multihit games (17).
“He’s obviously locked in,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “I don’t know where we’d be without him.”
Jay Gibbons, who also homered, said, “He’s on fire. He’s fun to watch, and I love hitting behind him.”
Gibbons’ sixth homer gave Baltimore a 5-0 lead, but the lead shrunk to 5-2 before Tejada and Ramon Hernandez hit two-run homers in the eighth off Vinnie Chulk. That took the pressure off the Baltimore bullpen, which came in with an AL-worst 6.47 ERA and surrendered seven runs in three innings on Monday night.
“They were obviously big runs for us,” Perlozzo said.
Melvin Mora had three hits and two RBIs for the Orioles, who earned a split of the two-game series.
Benson (4-2) allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. It was the right-hander’s second win over Toronto in six days.
“What he does is throw strikes and mix his pitches up,” Toronto catcher Bengie Molina said. “That’s what he does well. Any pitcher that throws strikes and hits the corners keeps you off balance.”
The Orioles’ relievers made Benson’s fine effort stand up. Todd Williams, the fourth Baltimore pitcher, got five outs for his first save.
Vernon Wells went 0-for-3 with a walk for Toronto, ending his 11-game hitting streak. It was only the second game this season in which he did not get a hit, although the walk enabled him to extend his run of reaching base in all 25 games.
Blue Jays starter Casey Janssen (0-2) gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. The rookie derived more satisfaction from this effort than when he lost to Benson and the Orioles in his debut on April 27.
“I was a little more comfortable out there tonight,” Janssen said. “I missed a couple of those pitches that cost me all those runs.”
“Obviously, five runs doesn’t show the great job that he did. I hope he knows it,” the catcher said. “I hope he can learn from it. A couple of mistakes made him pay.”
Down 5-0, Toronto sent eight batters to the plate in the seventh but scored only twice. After Shea Hillenbrand hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out pinch-hit single by Eric Henske, Perlozzo replaced Benson with Julio Manon, recalled from Triple-A Ottawa earlier Tuesday.
Rleal got the first out in the eighth before Williams finished up, allowing two hits.
Benson gave up two hits in the second inning but was aided by a double play. He retired 10 straight batters, including seven in a row on fly balls, before working out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
Gibbons made it 5-0 in the bottom half, driving a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats after Tejada hit a one-out single.
Tejada has at least one hit in 24 of 28 games this season. … Toronto LHP Scott Downs, reinstated from bereavement leave before the game, pitched a scoreless seventh. … Manon last pitched in the majors for Montreal in 2003.