NEWS
09/06/2015 16:39 EDT | Updated 09/06/2016 01:12 EDT

Surging Toronto Blue Jays use the long ball to beat the Baltimore Orioles

Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and Kevin Pillar homered Sunday afternoon as the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays battered the Baltimore Orioles 10-4.

MVP candidate Josh Donaldson drove in two runs with a double and sacrifice fly, upping his majors-leading RBI total to 114.

Down 6-0 after four innings, the Orioles tried to claw their way back. But Toronto answered with three runs in the sixth and one in the eighth to end the comeback.

Nolan Reimold homered off Jays closer Roberto Osuna in the ninth.

Toronto (78-58) remains atop the AL East standings, 1.5 games above the New York Yankees, after going 7-2 in its penultimate homestand of the regular season. The Yankees (76-59) defeated visiting Tampa Bay 6-4.

The Jays, who outhit Baltimore 15-6, have won 12 of their last 15 and 28 of their last 35.

Toronto, which has scored five or more runs in each of its last 13 victories, leads the majors with 189 homers and Pillar becomes the seventh Jay to reach double digits in home runs this season.

How dominant have the Jays been? They have won their last five series and are 9-1-1 in series play since July 30.

In contrast, Baltimore (65-71) has lost two straight games and 14 of its last 17.

Toronto plays its next 10 games on the road with a crucial four-game series against the Yankees sandwiched between stops in Boston and Atlanta.

The game was played on a steamy 29-degree day before 46,136 at the Rogers Centre with the roof open and planes from the nearby lakefront air show occasionally roaring overhead.

One giant helicopter, hovering about the stadium, prompted Orioles third baseman Manny Machado to ask for time at the plate.

Despite early control issues, Jays starter Marco Estrada (12-8) did not give up a hit until Reimold beat out an infield single with one out in the fifth. Ryan Flaherty, the next hitter, homered into the second deck in right field to cut the lead to 6-2.

Even with the lack of hits, Estrada had to pitch out of trouble with a season-tying four walks (one intentional). The normally reliable right-hander opened the game with five straight balls and threw 60 pitches in the first three innings alone, only 33 for strikes.

Estrada threw 89 pitches, 54 for strikes, in five innings and struck out four while yielding two hits.

Toronto wasted little time taking the lead, opening with four straight hits off Orioles starter Chris Tillman (9-11). Donaldson doubled home a run before Bautista brought him home with his 33rd homer for a 3-0 lead.

Tillman threw 19 pitches before he got an out. And he took his time between pitches before finally wrapping up a glacially paced first inning that lasted 31 minutes. 

Tulowitzki made it 5-0 in the third inning with a two-run moonshot to left field for his 17th homer of the season. Pillar's 10th homer to lead off the fourth upped the lead to 6-0 and chased Tillman, who threw 45 strikes in a shaky 72-pitch outing.

Tillman is now winless in his last four starts. The six-foot-five right-hander is 0-4 with a 15.40 ERA against the Jays this season and 4-10 lifetime against Toronto.

Jimmy Paredes' RBI double off the left-field wall made it 6-3 in the sixth, despite Ben Revere's leaping effort to snag it.

Toronto DH Edwin Encarnacion extended his on-base streak to 36 games while second baseman Ryan Goins upped his to a career-high 17 straight.

NOTES: It was 20 years ago Sunday that Baltimore legend Cal Ripken Jr. played his 2,131st consecutive game to surpass Lou Gehrig's record. Ripken went on to appear in 2,632 straight before taking himself out of the lineup on Sept. 20, 1998. Baltimore's Machado is the current major league leader in consecutive games at 128 including Sunday.

 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press