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Orioles' Gonzalez cruises in final start of season

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Miguel Gonzalez didn't want to say Thursday night's start against the Toronto Blue Jays was his best this season. But even if it wasn't the top performance of 2013 for the Baltimore Orioles right-hander, it couldn't have been too far away.

Matt Wieters homered and drove in two runs, and Gonzalez gave up two hits in seven innings as the Orioles posted a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays.

Gonzalez (11-8) ended his season with a solid start. He gave up one unearned run and two hits through seven innings, retiring 12 in a row and 15 of the last 16 batters he faced. He left with a 3-1 lead.

"Everything was working ... just throwing strikes," Gonzalez said. "I'm happy I finished well, and I'm healthy, so that's the most important thing for me. Finishing strong made me happy."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Gonzalez now can go into the off-season with a positive memory from his last start.

"He was really good," Showalter said. "You like to leave a good taste in your mouth, and it's a reminder to everybody of how good he's been for us, and hopefully will be again. He was good."

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Gonzalez's ability to keep the ball down made it tough for his team.

The Blue Jays threatened and scored an unearned run in the first but couldn't do much else versus Gonzalez until the seventh when the right-hander gave up a two-out double to J.P Arencibia. Gonzalez then struck out Ryan Goins to end the inning.

"He's a pitcher," Gibbons said. "He's just tough. He's a control guy; he just moves it around, elevating it when he needs to ... he'll elevate it on you to keep you honest, and he can throw it by you up there."

Tommy Hunter came on for Gonzalez in the eighth and gave up singles to Kevin Pillar and Jose Reyes to start the inning. Pillar moved to third on an Adam Jones running catch of a Munenori Kawasaki liner to left center.

Brett Lawrie followed by lining a double to right that scored Pillar and sent Reyes to third. Hunter then settled down and struck out Moises Sierra and Anthony Gose to end the inning to hold the 3-2 lead.

Jim Johnson came on in the ninth for his American League-best 48th save. Toronto now has lost four of its last five.

The Orioles helped Toronto take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when left fielder Jason Pridie dropped Sierra's two-out fly ball. The error allowed Kawasaki to score all the way from first.

Baltimore tied it when Wieters led off the second with a solo homer.

The Orioles added two runs in the third. Nick Markakis broke the tie with an RBI double to left that scored Brian Roberts from first. Markakis later scored on a Wieters sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.

Wieters now leads the major leagues with 12 sacrifice flies this season.

"It's a cool stat to lead the league in, I guess," he said. "Any time you get a man on third with less than two outs, you feel like it's your job to get them in."

The Orioles knocked starter Mark Buehrle (12-10) out of the game in the fourth when Steve Pearce lined a shot off Buehrle's right calf. Buehrle raced over to pick up the ball and throw out Pearce, but Chad Jenkins replaced the left-hander, who sustained a contusion.

Buehrle never really found a good rhythm before he departed. He gave up three runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.

NOTES: Orioles 1B Chris Davis had the night off because of a sore right foot that bothered him lately. He's day-to-day... The Orioles also said OF Chris Dickerson (hamstring) and 2B Alexi Casilla (sore head/jammed thumb) likely won't play any more this season because of the injuries. ... Even though 1B Adam Lind has been hot lately, the Blue Jays held him out of the lineup because of problems with a sore back. Lind is hitting .315 in his last 15 games. ... The Blue Jays selected the contract of OF Ryan Langerhans from Triple-A Buffalo before the game. They transferred LHP Brett Cecil (left elbow) to the 60-day disabled list from the 15-day DL. ... The Orioles won the season series 10-9.
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