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Davis homers as Jays knock Orioles out of AL East lead

The Canadian Press

9/5/2012 11:21:51 PM

TORONTO -- Though they didn't play the role of playoff spoiler, the Blue Jays at least provided a speed bump for Baltimore in its run for a post-season spot.

Rajai Davis had a home run and three RBIs as Toronto avoided being swept by the Orioles with a 6-4 win on Wednesday night.

The victory snapped a four-game skid for the Jays (61-75), who were searching for offence after two straight shutout losses to the O's.

"We just hope this could be the next winning streak for us," said Davis. "A long one, not a short one."

Baltimore fell out of a first-place tie in the AL East with the New York Yankees, who beat the Rays 6-4 in Tampa Bay later Wednesday.

The O's (76-60), who are in the hunt for their first playoff berth since 1997, will open a four-game home stand against the Yankees starting Thursday in what's turned into a close race to win the division. The Rays are two games back.

"It's going to be fun playing against the Yankees," said Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (6-4). "Obviously we're in a battle. I'll be cheering. I'll be on the bench pumping guys up."

Right-hander Steve Delabar (4-1) took over in the seventh for starter Brandon Morrow and retired three straight Baltimore batters.

Morrow earned the no decision after 92 pitches and six innings of work. He allowed two earned runs -- one homer -- and three hits while walking three and striking out six. He's 1-1 in three starts since coming off the DL after missing over two months with a oblique strain.

Morrow says he feels like he's returned to form.

"(I wanted to) regain the same confidence and feeling that I had earlier in the season and I'm feeling that now," said the right-hander. "Take the second inning's little struggles out, I think I was pretty good across the board (tonight)."

Toronto took the lead in the seventh with runners on the corners and one out. Yunel Escobar scored to make it 3-2 when Adeiny Hechavarria made a short bunt that pitcher Gonzalez couldn't get to in time.

That spelled the end of Gonzalez's night. The right-hander gave up seven hits and five runs -- four earned -- over 6 1-3 innings.

Luis Ayala took over and immediately gave up a single to Anthony Gose to load the bases, setting up Davis's RBI double through the gap in centre that made it 6-2, with Gose coming home on an overthrow to third.

Casey Janssen came in in the ninth inning in a non-save situation and gave up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds, his 18th this year.

The Jays will next visit the Boston Red Sox for weekend series between the bottom two teams in the AL East.

"Given that we started off this homestand with a couple wins, four straight losses to finish out on a positive note is a good thing going into this next road trip," said Jays manager John Farrell.

Toronto tied the game 2-2 in the third as Davis stroked a Gonzalez slider over the wall for his career-high seventh home run of the season.

The Jays got their first run of the series in the bottom of the second as designated hitter Adam Lind reached on a single before Kelly Johnson smacked an RBI doubled into deep right to make it 2-1.

Adam Jones put the O's on the board in the second when he led off the inning with a solo shot over the left-field wall for his 27th homer of the year.

Manny Machado doubled Baltimore's lead in the inning when his grounder scored catcher Matt Wieters.

"The key was Morrow," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "If he had a few more innings he'd be in the top-10 in ERA. They've got a good one there. I know they really missed him and are glad to get him back."

Notes: Blue Jays first baseman David Cooper has been shut down, likely for the season, with a re-occuring back injury. ... Left-hander Ricky Romero will skip his next start and pitch on nine days rest when Toronto hosts the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. Romero (8-13, 5.85 ERA) is struggling and has lost 12 straight starts. He was scheduled to pitch Saturday at Boston. ...Attendance was 14,458.