BALTIMORE (AP) -- Jeff Conine hit two homers and drove in five
runs, and Sidney Ponson pitched eight strong innings to earn his
11th win as the Baltimore Orioles breezed past the slumping Toronto
Blue Jays 9-2 Saturday night.
Brook Fordyce also homered, and AL batting leader Melvin Mora
had four hits to help the Orioles extend their winning streak to
four -- tying a season high.Baltimore will seek its first four-game sweep of Toronto since
1979 on Sunday. The Orioles are 5-4 against the Blue Jays after
going 4-15 last year.Greg Myers and Shannon Stewart homered for the Blue Jays, who
have lost seven of eight.Conine's first homer, a three-run shot, put Baltimore up 3-0 in
the third. He added a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 7-0.Both home runs were against Cory Lidle (10-7), who allowed seven
runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings. Conine is 11-for-16 with three
homers and eight RBI lifetime against Lidle.Ponson (11-5) allowed two runs and seven hits, striking out four
and walking none. The right-hander's 11 wins are the most by an
Oriole before the All-Star break since Mike Mussina won 11 in 1999.Ponson has won 10-3 in his last 13 starts and is within one
victory of matching his career high of 12 wins, set in 1999. He has
never had a winning season since breaking into the majors in 1998.Baltimore got the rout started in the third inning, when Luis
Matos got the first of his three hits and Mora singled before
Conine sent a 3-1 changeup into the left-field seats.In the fourth, Mora singled in a run and another scored on a
throwing error by Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells before Conine
chased Lidle with his 12th homer of the season.Conine's two homers and five RBI matched his career highs. It's
the 19th time he's hit two homers in a game.Baltimore made it 9-0 against Scott Service in the sixth.
Fordyce led off with his second homer, and Mora hit an RBI single.Myers hits his ninth home run leading off the seventh, and
Stewart homered in the eighth.
Baltimore leadoff hitter Brian Roberts has scored a run in
nine straight games. ... Toronto 2B Orlando Hudson was rested after
straining his left groin on Friday. He's day-to-day. ... Fordyce
has nine RBI, one more than all of last season. ... The loss left
Toronto 17-19 against the AL East, including a combined 6-11
against Baltimore and Tampa Bay.