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Benson, bullpen help O's dominate Jays for series split

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Until his injured left leg heals enough for him
to play shortstop, Miguel Tejada intends to help the Baltimore
Orioles at the plate.

The designated hitter went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI
to back a fine pitching performance by Kris Benson, and the Orioles
beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2 on Tuesday night.

Making his third straight start as the DH while nursing a
hyperextended left knee, Tejada singled in a run in the third
inning, singled and scored in the sixth and hit a two-run homer in
the eighth.

"I know that I can't play defense and I've got to do something
for the team, so I do it with my bat," said Tejada, who hopes to
return to the field Wednesday when the Orioles play at Texas.

Despite the injury, Tejada extended his consecutive games streak
to 945, the seventh-longest run in major league history. He's not
just showing up, either -- he leads the AL with a .423 batting
average and ranks first in hits (47) and multihit games (17).

"He's obviously locked in," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.
"I don't know where we'd be without him."

Jay Gibbons, who also homered, said, "He's on fire. He's fun to
watch, and I love hitting behind him."

Gibbons' sixth homer gave Baltimore a 5-0 lead, but the lead
shrunk to 5-2 before Tejada and Ramon Hernandez hit two-run homers
in the eighth off Vinnie Chulk. That took the pressure off the
Baltimore bullpen, which came in with an AL-worst 6.47 ERA and
surrendered seven runs in three innings on Monday night.

"They were obviously big runs for us," Perlozzo said.

Melvin Mora had three hits and two RBI for the Orioles, who
earned a split of the two-game series.

Benson (4-2) allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in 6 2-3
innings. It was the right-hander's second win over Toronto in six
days.

"What he does is throw strikes and mix his pitches up,"
Toronto catcher Bengie Molina said. "That's what he does well. Any
pitcher that throws strikes and hits the corners keeps you off
balance."

The Orioles' relievers made Benson's fine effort stand up. Todd
Williams, the fourth Baltimore pitcher, got five outs for his first
save.

Vernon Wells went 0-for-3 with a walk for Toronto, ending his
11-game hitting streak. It was only the second game this season in
which he did not get a hit, although the walk enabled him to extend
his run of reaching base in all 25 games.

Blue Jays starter Casey Janssen (0-2) gave up five runs and
eight hits in six innings. The rookie derived more satisfaction
from this effort than when he lost to Benson and the Orioles in his
debut on April 27.

"I was a little more comfortable out there tonight," Janssen
said. "I missed a couple of those pitches that cost me all those
runs."

Molina concurred.

"Obviously, five runs doesn't show the great job that he did. I
hope he knows it," the catcher said. "I hope he can learn from
it. A couple of mistakes made him pay."

Down 5-0, Toronto sent eight batters to the plate in the seventh
but scored only twice. After Shea Hillenbrand hit a leadoff double
and scored on a two-out pinch-hit single by Eric Henske, Perlozzo
replaced Benson with Julio Manon, recalled from Triple-A Ottawa
earlier Tuesday.

Alex Rios tripled in a run and Manon walked two straight batters
to load the bases. Sendy Rleal then came in to face Troy Glaus, who
lined out to left.

Rleal got the first out in the eighth before Williams finished
up, allowing two hits.

The Orioles went up 3-0 in the third. Nick Markakis doubled and
Janssen hit Chris Gomez with a pitch before Mora lined a two-run
double into the left-field corner. Tejada followed with an RBI
single.

Benson gave up two hits in the second inning but was aided by a
double play. He retired 10 straight batters, including seven in a
row on fly balls, before working out of a bases-loaded jam in the
sixth.

Gibbons made it 5-0 in the bottom half, driving a 2-2 pitch into
the right-field seats after Tejada hit a one-out single.

Game notes
Tejada has at least one hit in 24 of 28 games this season.
... Toronto LHP Scott Downs, reinstated from bereavement leave
before the game, pitched a scoreless seventh. ... Manon last
pitched in the majors for Montreal in 2003.