BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles insist they’re not watching the scoreboard. They say they’re concentrating on the last-place Toronto Blue Jays.
They will need to concentrate harder.
On Tuesday night, the Orioles lost for the second straight game, 4-0 to the Blue Jays.
Baltimore remained 1 1/2 games behind first-place New York in the AL East. The Yankees lost 5-4 at Minnesota.
After Boston’s loss, Adam Jones said it was vital to ignore the Yankees.
“Trying to get more runs on our scoreboard,” Jones said.
For the first time since Aug. 3, Baltimore was shut out as Aaron Laffey and five relievers combined on a six-hitter.
Laffey (4-6) allowed five singles in 5 2/3 innings and won his first game since Aug. 5. He had been winless in his previous six starts. He neither walked nor struck out a batter.
“Honestly, he’s running on fumes. His stuff is not as sharp and crisp, but you can’t take anything away from what he did tonight. He’s gone out there on really some guile tonight,” Toronto manager John Farrell said.
Relievers Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil, Brandon Lyon, Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen combined to allow one hit — Chris Davis’ seventh-inning double — in 3 1/3 innings.
The Orioles loaded the bases in the ninth on an error and two walks, but Ryan Flaherty flied out on the first pitch of his at-bat to end the game.
“He’s the tying run there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just missed that ball, hitting it out of the ballpark.”
On Monday, Baltimore and Toronto split a doubleheader, with the Blue Jays winning the second game 9-5. The Orioles had just four runners in scoring position.
Baltimore leads the season series 10-7 with one game remaining on Wednesday.
“You’re always going to get everyone’s best shot and when we had been struggling and we’d go into certain venues where there’s a good emotion in the ballpark, it feeds the other team as well as us,” Showalter said.
The Orioles had won seven of their previous nine.
“We got to get some wins. That’s what we’ve been doing since the first day of spring training. Now, we’re just in a position where each game matters. It’s a cool position to be in,” Jones said.
Joe Saunders (2-3) pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs — three earned — and 11 hits. He struck out two and walked none.
“I didn’t feel I had my best stuff, but I feel like I kept my team in the game as best I could. I think we’ve played like 100 innings the last five days, so bullpen’s pretty burnt up, so I had to go as deep as I could,” Saunders said.
The Orioles played an 18-inning game in Seattle a week ago, another 11 innings against the Mariners the next night, and 12 innings in Boston last Saturday.
“I think we’re fine. I think we might be a little bit tired, but we just have to push through, especially at this time of the year, dig down deep and find whatever you have and compete the best you can. That’s about it,” Saunders said.
In the first inning, the Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead on Yan Gomes’ RBI single that scored Brett Lawrie, who led off with a single.
Rajai Davis beat out an infield single with two outs in the fourth and scored on Adeiny Hechavarria’s double.
In the seventh, Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion had consecutive RBI singles to give Toronto a 4-0 lead.
“They came up with clutch hits, not really hard hits, but just kind of dinked it in there,” Saunders said.
Dylan Bundy made his second appearance for Baltimore. The 19-year-old pitched a scoreless ninth, but allowed his first hit.
NOTES: Orioles LHP Randy Wolf, who’s suffering from discomfort in his pitching elbow, will consult with orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum before settling on his next step. Yocum performed Tommy John surgery on Wolf’s left elbow in 2005. … Baltimore RHP Jason Hammel, who’s been out with a bad right knee, threw about 35 pitches off the mound. He hasn’t pitched since leaving a game on Sept. 11. … Orioles OF Lew Ford is out with a groin injury. … Bundy and OF L.J. Hoes were given awards for outstanding pitcher and hitter in the Orioles’ minor league system. Hoes made his major league debut as a pinch-runner in the ninth. … Davis was credited with a first-inning single when his batted ball hit Gomes, who was ruled out. … Baltimore RHP Miguel Gonzalez (7-4, 3.52) faces Toronto RHP Carlos Villanueva (7-6, 3.88) on Wednesday.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)