TORONTO -- The Baltimore Orioles put their distractions behind them and won a series for the first time in two weeks.
Jay Gibbons and B.J. Surhoff homered in the sixth inning to lead Baltimore to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
The Orioles, who have won two straight after losing 10 of 11, released pitcher Sidney Ponson before the game because of his conduct and problems with alcohol.
"There has been a lot of distractions," Gibbons said. "After losing the first game, we showed that we do care and that we want to win."
Over the last four weeks the Orioles have dealt with Rafael Palmeiro's 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids, and the firing of manager Lee Mazzilli.
"We've gone through a bunch this year," Surhoff said. "This year has been a little unique in not such a good way, but we've just got to keep playing. There is a lot for guys in this room to play for. A lot of guys are playing for a job."
Miguel Tejada led off the sixth with a bunt single before scoring on Gibbons' 20th homer. One out later, Surhoff hit his fifth to give Baltimore a 4-3 lead. Both homers were off rookie Dustin McGowan (1-3).
"I just made a couple of bad pitches," McGowan said. "You make bad pitches at this level they get hit hard."
Baltimore's Bernie Castro went 2-for-4 with a triple, a walk and stolen base in his major-league debut. Castro, called up from Triple-A Ottawa on Thursday, showed his speed, beating out a grounder to third base in the third inning for his first major-league hit.
"He picked the ballclub up. They saw him run and saw him steal a base," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "They got excited, they were like we've got somebody here that is going to create havoc."
The Blue Jays have lost 10 of 13 and dropped below .500 (66-67) for the first time since July 19.
Baltimore's Hayden Penn (3-2) recalled from Double-A Bowie on Thursday -- allowed three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits, striking out four and walking two in five-plus innings. The 20-year-old right-hander is in his second stint with the Orioles this season.
"I didn't pitch as well as I could have, but I'm going to take today, we won," Penn said.
B.J. Ryan pitched the ninth for his 29th save and the Orioles took two of three from Toronto for their first series win since sweeping Oakland two weeks ago.
McGowan allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the first on Corey Koskie's two-run double.
Melvin Mora cut it to 2-1 with an RBI single in the third, but Frank Catalanotto hit a run-scoring single in the fifth for Toronto.
Mora added an RBI double off Justin Speier in the ninth.
Palmeiro wants to play, but his manager won't let him. ``His knee and ankle are still bothering him," Perlozzo said. "We may get back to the doctors again Monday and see if we can't get an MRI. I keep telling him we need him to play the field a little bit. And he keeps insisting he wants to play. He's not ready to catch anything yet." Palmeiro is 2-for-26 with one RBI in seven games since returning from the suspension. ... LHP Ted Lilly, on the 15-day DL since July 25 because of left biceps tendinitis, is expected to start for Toronto on Monday or Tuesday.