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Orioles beat Blue Jays; prospect Schoop shines

The SportsXchange

By Todd Karpovich, SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- One day after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Baltimore Orioles began laying the foundation for next season and got a spark from one of their prized prospects.

Jonathan Schoop homered in his major league debut and the Orioles snapped a six-game losing streak with a 9-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Orioles also assured themselves of consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1996-1997.

Toronto has dropped five of its past eight games and is guaranteed a last-place finish in the American League East.

Schoop, one of the Orioles' top minor leaguers, made his case for being the club's starting second baseman next year, going 2-for-3 with a homer in the sixth inning that provided a 7-4 lead.

"I'll play baseball and whenever they need me, I'll be there," Schoop said. "Whatever position they need, I'll work. If you put me at third base, shortstop or left field, I feel comfortable. I'm not worried about it."

Ryan Flaherty also homered twice, increasing his total to 10 on the season, and had a season-high four RBIs. Steve Pearce got his fourth homer for Baltimore.

The Orioles' bullpen allowed just two runs over the final five innings with T.J. McFarland picking up the victory. Jason Hammel also got his first career save. Flaherty's two-run shot in the eighth provided a five-run margin.

"It's fun," Flaherty said. "Obviously, you wish the circumstances were a little different than they are. But none the less, it's still fun. A win's a win."

Munenori Kawasaki had his first career four-hit game for Toronto. Josh Thole also had a career-tying high four hits and an RBI for the Blue Jays, who were for 4-for-22 with runners in scoring position.

"You run into those," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "That's where we could have used that home run. They got a couple of homers. We could have used one. Might have been a different story."

Kevin Pillar added an RBI double with two outs in the ninth that cut the lead to 9-5.

Orioles righty Bud Norris lasted just four innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks on 96 pitches. He has an ERA of 7.30 in five starts at Camden Yards since being acquired from Houston on July 31.

Toronto starter Esmil Rogers also struggled and gave up six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and one walk over just 4 1/3 innings.

The Orioles took their first lead, 4-3, on a single by Nick Markakis in the fifth that ended Rogers' night. Lefty Aaron Loup entered for Toronto and immediately gave up a ground-rule, RBI double to Chris Davis. A dribbler to first by rookie Jason Pridie provided a 6-3 lead.

Baltimore also ended a stretch of 21 consecutive games of scoring five runs or less.

The Blue Jays opened a 1-0 lead in the second when Reyes hit a blooper off Norris that fell into shallow left field and scored Thole. Norris threw 50 pitches in just the first two innings, earning an early visit from pitching coach Bill Castro.

Toronto increased the margin to 3-0 with two outs in third on triple by Anthony Gose and another bloop single by Thole.

Rogers retired the first seven batters he faced before allowing a single to Schoop. Flaherty then followed with a homer to right field, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Pearce tied the game in the fourth with solo homer to left.

"I make one mistake with the homer with (Flaherty)," Rogers said. "Another mistake with a slider hanging right in the middle. You leave the ball like that, make a couple of mistakes, you pay at this level. It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter if you're a baby. If you got a mistake, you're gonna pay."

NOTES: Orioles 3B Manny Machado was officially placed on the 60-day disabled list with a left knee injury to make room for Pridie. ... Davis struck out for the 197th time, breaking the club's single-season record set by Mark Reynolds in 2011. ... Blue Jays RF Moises Sierra has been listed as day-to-day with a sprained left ankle that he suffered Tuesday against Baltimore. ... With a single and a walk, Toronto 1B Adam Lind has reached safely in 37 of his past 44 games.
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