BALTIMORE (AP) — Adam Jones went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Monday in the opener of a doubleheader to move within a half-game of the AL East lead.
Ryan Flaherty hit a solo shot for the Orioles, who matched the division-leading New York Yankees in the win column (88). New York was scheduled to play at Minnesota on Monday night.
The victory also solidified Baltimore’s grasp on the top AL wild-card slot over Oakland.
Jones’ four hits tied a career high. He’s already reached a career high in homers (32), and his two runs scored put him over 100 for the first time. The All-Star center fielder needs three more RBIs to eclipse his previous high of 83, set last year.
Orioles rookie Steve Johnson (4-0) allowed three hits over five shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.62. Half his big-league wins have come against Toronto.
Jim Johnson, the fifth Baltimore pitcher, worked the ninth for his 48th save in 51 opportunities.
It was the seventh straight loss for the Blue Jays, matching a season high. Toronto has been outscored 46-17 during the skid, which began during a three-trip to Yankee Stadium and continued in Tampa Bay.
Henderson Alvarez (9-14) gave up four runs, eight hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. He’s 2-7 in his last 10 starts.
Johnson allowed two runners to reach in three of the first four innings but escaped damage on each occasion. In the bottom of the fourth, Chris Davis walked and Jones followed with a drive to left to put Baltimore up 2-0.
Flaherty connected in the fifth, and Jones singled in the sixth and came home on a double-play grounder.
Toronto scored in the eighth on an RBI double by Rajai Davis. With runners on second and third and two outs, Darren O’Day came in to strike out Kelly Johnson.
NOTES: Toronto purchased the contracts of RHPs Shawn Hill and Bobby Korecky and transferred LHP J.A. Happ (foot) to the 60-day DL. … Orioles LHP Randy Wolf is experiencing discomfort in his left elbow and will undergo an MRI on Tuesday. … Seventeen of Jones’ HRs have given the Orioles the lead. Baltimore is 23-8 when he homers. … Toronto has lost six straight in Baltimore during a single season for the first time since 1980, and the Orioles won the season series for the first time since 2004.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)