Ponson and three relievers combined on a five-hitter, leading
the Orioles over the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 Friday night, their 10th
win in 11 games.Ponson (8-12) is 5-0 in his last six starts after losing nine
straight. Signed to a $22.5 million, three-year contract in the
offseason, Ponson was 3-12 with a 6.29 ERA on July 4 after losing
his ninth straight start. His ERA is down to 5.47."I've had a good second half and a really bad first half,"
said Ponson, whose team is 19-10 since the All-Star break, moving
them within two games of .500 (56-58)Ponson allowed five hits, while striking out six and walking one
in six-plus innings. He threw just 78 pitches. He said he was
shocked manager Lee Mazzilli took him out early, but he understood
why. The Orioles didn't arrive to their hotel until 4 am after
flying in from Los Angeles."The manager is the manager. He did the right moves today,"
Ponson said.Toronto's Vernon Wells chased Ponson with a leadoff double in
the seventh, but B.J. Ryan escaped the jam as Carlos Delgado flew
out and Frank Menechino and Eric Hinske struck out.Jason Grimsley pitched a perfect eighth, and Jorge Julio worked
the ninth to complete Baltimore's fifth shutout of the season."The last week has been amazing. We come to the park knowing
we're going to win," Ponson said. "Everybody is more relaxed.
Everyone is having fun."The Blue Jays have lost four straight and nine of 10 to fall 20
games below .500 (48-68) for the first time since Aug. 23, 2002.
They're 1-4 since manager John Gibbons replaced Carlos Tosca last
Sunday.Toronto has been shut out 11 times this season, the most in the
AL."The was like the old Ponson when he had that good run last
year," Gibbons said. "He was dominating, but so was (Miguel)
Batista."The Blue Jays grounded into three of the games five double
plays.Blue Jays starter Batista (9-8) pitched six scoreless innings
before Baltimore scored twice in the seventh.Brian Roberts hit an RBI ground-rule double after Jerry Hairston
walked with one out in the seventh. David Newhan followed with an
RBI single, giving Baltimore a 2-0 lead.The Orioles added two runs in the ninth on Melvin Mora's RBI
grounder and Javy Lopez's run-scoring single.Batista allowed two runs on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.
The Blue Jays have scored three runs or less in 57 games
this season. They are 8-49 in those games. ... Ponson is 3-1 with a
1.15 ERA in five career starts at SkyDome. ... Toronto's Hinske
ended a 0-for-15 slump with a single in the seventh. ...
Baltimore's Kurt Ainsworth allowed one run on two hits 3 2-3
innings in a rehab start at Class-A Aberdeen. Ainsworth underwent
arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in July.