Wells, Litsch carry Blue Jays over Orioles

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Vernon Wells couldn’t have ended the year any better. The only problem is that his season concluded on Sunday.

Wells went 4-for-4, homered twice and had five RBIs, leading Jesse Litsch and the Toronto Blue Jays over the Baltimore Orioles 10-1.

Wells hit a solo homer in the second inning, an RBI single in the third, a three-run shot in the fifth and a single in the seventh.

“It’s a good way to finish. Unfortunately, we’re finishing too early,” he said. “You live and you learn, and you try to get better for next year.”

Wells’ 18th career multihomer game enabled him to reach 20 home runs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The total is even more impressive because he only played in 108 games because of wrist and hamstring injuries.

He wasn’t the lone Toronto player to go out with a flourish—Lyle Overbay homered, Marco Scutaro had three hits and Joe Inglett scored three runs.

“That was a fun game for everybody to be a part of,” Wells said. “Everybody can go home with a smile on their face.”

Especially Litsch (13-9), who gave up one run and three hits in seven innings. The right-hander went 4-1 in September and finished with a solid 3.58 ERA.

“It’s good going into next year, not just for me but for all of us,” Litsch said. “We put up, what, I don’t know how many hits, but 10 runs is always big to end the season.”

Nick Markakis had three hits and Melvin Mora tied a career high with his 104th RBI for the Orioles, who lost 30 of their last 35 games and their final 12 series after Aug. 17. Their 68 wins were the fewest since 2002.

“The last six weeks were less than what we expect and what we want,” manager Dave Trembley said.

Returning to the mound after missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury, Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie (10-12) gave up three runs and six hits in four innings. He opened the season with a loss to Tampa Bay and finished it with a typical defeat—Baltimore scored a total of 21 runs in his 12 losses.

“Well, on a positive not, it’s good that Guthrie is healthy. So we can leave and know that,” Trembley said.

Guthrie said, “I felt pretty good. I was able to locate the fastball much better than I was the past couple of days. The breaking stuff was much better. I gave up a home run on the curveball, but I was pretty happy with the curveballs I threw.”

After Wells gave Toronto a 2-0 lead, Overbay led off the fourth with his 15th home run.

After Alfredo Simon entered in the fifth for the Orioles, Toronto needed only four at-bats to double its lead. A walk and a throwing error by Mora at third base preceded Wells’ drive into the left-field seats.

Toronto made it 7-0 in the sixth when Travis Snider hit a sacrifice fly following singles by Scott Rolen and Gregg Zaun.

An RBI single by Mora in the sixth ended Litsch’s shutout bid.


Aubrey Huff was voted Orioles MVP. He was the only player on all 27 ballots in voting by the media. … Wells’ five RBIs tied a career high. … Baltimore finished 5-20 on Sundays.

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