BALTIMORE (AP) -- After finding their lost hitting stroke in
Baltimore, the Toronto Blue Jays headed home looking to sustain the
positive feeling created by their first road sweep of the season.
If the Blue Jays are fortunate, they will avoid duplicating what
happened to the Orioles, who learned that momentum can be fleeting
-- even when you're playing at home.
The Blue Jays had lost four straight and 13 of 15 before coming
to Baltimore, where they had 41 hits in dispatching the Orioles by
a combined 32-13 score.
"We haven't been swinging the bats like we were last year,"
Wells said, "so hopefully this will be a starting block for us and
we continue to roll from here."
Miguel Tejada went 4-for-5 with a homer, three doubles and five
RBI for the Orioles, who had won 11 of 13 before being outscored
51-18 during an 0-6 homestand against Oakland and Toronto. Tejada
boosted his league-leading RBI total to 113.
But that was little consolation to the Orioles, whose unexpected
collapse at home dropped them eight games under .500.
"We had a lot of momentum coming in, we were playing great
baseball," first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "We never saw it
coming. We were on a high. But that's just how baseball is."
Palmeiro went 2-for-23 during the homestand and was 0-for-5
Sunday despite hitting two drives to the warning track.
"I feel like I'm hitting the ball good. No results," he said.
The same could be said for Baltimore's starters, who compiled an
18.62 ERA in the series by surrendering 20 runs in 9 2-3 innings.
On Sunday, rookie Erik Bedard gave up seven runs, six hits and two
walks while using 72 pitches to get only eight outs.
"You only go as far as your pitching, and we just didn't pitch
well the last few games," manager Lee Mazzilli said.
Justin Miller (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in five
innings to earn his first victory since May 9. It was the
right-hander's third start since returning from a two-month stay on
the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
His task was made easier by the Toronto offense, which amassed
eight runs and eight hits over the first four innings.
"We played good the whole series, we really did," interim
manager John Gibbons said. "We deserved to win."
In addition to getting poor pitching throughout the series, the
Orioles stranded 13 runners Sunday and 25 in the three games.
Baltimore used doubles by David Newhan and Tejada to go up 1-0
in the first, but the lead didn't last long.
Hinske put the Blue Jays ahead for good in the second, hitting
his 13th home run after singles by Carlos Delgado and Alexis Rios.
It was Hinske's second three-run shot of the series and third homer
in six games following a 16-day drought.
Toronto made it 7-1 in the third. After Wells hit a two-run
homer, Bedard walked the next two batters and was lifted after
yielding a two-run single to Chris Woodward.
"They just came out swinging the bats," Palmeiro said. "We
got down early and couldn't recover."
Tejada hit his 24th home run with a man on in the Orioles' half,
but the Blue Jays took an 8-3 lead in the fourth when Eddy
Rodriguez hit Delgado with a pitch with the bases loaded.
Baltimore put runners on second and third with no outs in the
fifth, but Melvin Mora was cut down at the plate while trying to
score on a fly ball to Rios in right field.
The Orioles loaded the bases against Kevin Frederick in the
sixth before Justin Speier retired Mora on a pop to short. Tejada
doubled in two runs in the ninth, but it wasn't enough.
"Everything is clicking right now -- at least for three games,"
John Gibbons said. "Hopefully, maybe we can carry this over and
have a good series against Boston. We'll see."
Toronto LF Reed Johnson collided with the outfield wall
after making an excellent running catch in the fourth. He remained
in the game. ... Tejada played in his 716th consecutive game. When
he returns to Oakland on Monday for the first time since leaving
the Athletics, he will match Ernie Banks for the 14th-longest
streak in major league history.