BALTIMORE - After the Baltimore Orioles struck early against R.A. Dickey, the Toronto Blue Jays spent the rest of the night trying to overcome the deficit.
Once the game reached the eighth inning, Toronto's chances of completing the comeback were all but gone.
Manny Machado had two hits and two RBIs, and Baltimore squeezed out a 4-3 victory Tuesday night with significant help from its trusty bullpen.
It was the 100th consecutive game the Orioles have won when leading after seven innings, a streak that began in August 2011.
"Obviously, it means that guys are throwing the ball well in the bullpen, getting put in good opportunities and doing what they're supposed to do," said closer Jim Johnson, who worked the ninth to earn his eighth save in eight tries.
"Our bullpen hasn't failed us yet, knock on wood," Machado said. "They do a good job in holding the lead. Once the ninth inning comes, Jimmy comes out, and you know it's lights out because you know he's going to shut the door for us."
Miguel Gonzalez (2-1) allowed three runs in six innings for the Orioles, who have won nine of 13. By taking the first two games of the three-game set, Baltimore improved to 5-2 in seven series this season — including 4-1 against the AL East.
"We know who we have to beat," Johnson said.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer for the last-place Blue Jays, who have dropped six of eight. Dickey yielded four runs in the second inning, and Toronto never got out of the hole.
"We had some chances late. We just couldn't get that big hit," manager John Gibbons said. "Dickey battled all night long. You wish you could take away that one inning, but you can't in this business."
Dickey (2-3) gave up four runs, six hits and five walks in six innings. The knuckleballer, who left his previous start with neck and back pain, did not appear to be in discomfort on the mound. But he sure looked uncomfortable during the four-run second.
"I'm definitely not 100 per cent," Dickey said. "I'm giving everything I can possibly give but it feels like going to battle with a three-shooter instead of a six-shooter. You just don't have what you normally have. You feel like what you have is good enough to keep your team in it. But it's frustrating because you want to give more."
Dickey was outdone by Gonzalez, who allowed five hits and three walks. The Orioles right-hander blanked Toronto on three hits through five innings before staggering through the sixth.
In the eighth, after the Blue Jays put runners at the corners with two outs against Pedro Strop, Melky Cabrera looked at a third strike on a 3-2 pitch.
Baltimore did all its scoring while batting around in the second. Adam Jones led off with a single, Chris Davis singled and Matt Wieters punched an opposite-field RBI single to left. After Nolan Reimold added a sacrifice fly, the Orioles loaded the bases with two outs for Machado, who singled in two runs.
"That second inning was a very quirky inning," Dickey said. "Not a lot of hard contact."
Toronto put runners at first and third with one out in the third before Munenori Kawasaki bounced into a double play. Baltimore also turned a double play in the fourth.
Gonzalez was cruising until the sixth, when he got the first two outs before walking Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. That brought a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rick Adair, and Encarnacion drove Gonzalez's next pitch over the left-field wall. Cabrera followed with a triple, but Gonzalez escaped further damage by getting Brett Lawrie to hit a fly ball.
NOTES: Josh Stinson will start for the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale. It will be the second big league start for Stinson, who previously pitched for the Mets and Brewers. Claimed on waivers from Oakland on April 4, the right-hander said in the clubhouse Tuesday, "This is a great opportunity for me." Toronto will start Brandon Morrow (0-2, 5.57 ERA). ... Toronto claimed LHP Aaron Laffey from the Mets. Laffey went 4-6 with the Blue Jays last season. To make room for Laffey, RHP Ramon Ortiz was designated for assignment. ... Lind was moved to the No. 2 spot in the Toronto lineup after adding 168 points to his on-base percentage since April 14. "We're just basically looking to change something up. He's been getting on base a lot lately," Gibbons said. Lind went 1 for 2 with a walk. ... Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy visited Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his ailing right arm. Bundy has experienced pain in the forearm-elbow region.