TORONTO -- Challenged by his manager to throw more strikes, Brian Burres responded with his best start of the season.
Brian Roberts homered for Baltimore, which won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 14-15 and came within three outs of recording consecutive shutouts for the first time this season.
Burres said manager Dave Trembley urged him to pound the strike zone as much as possible.
"I've been kind of wild, not getting ahead of guys," Burres said. "He just said, 'Get it going and get after people and let the pieces fall where they may. If you're going to get hit, don't give up two walks and then give up a hit. Make them put it together."'
Starting for the first time since Aug. 4 at Tampa Bay, Burres (6-5) scattered eight hits, walked none and struck out four. It's the first time in 14 starts this season Burres has not walked a batter.
"That's the best I've seen him pitch all year," designated hitter Aubrey Huff said. "His fastball was down and he was hitting his spots with it."
The left-hander had made 12 relief appearances since his last start, allowing 23 runs in 18 innings.
The loss, Toronto's sixth in seven games, eliminated the Blue Jays from contention in the AL East. Toronto has scored 17 runs in its past seven games.
"You've got to score in this league and we're not scoring," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Jim Hoey worked a perfect eighth and Jamie Walker closed it out in the ninth despite giving up solo homers to Aaron Hill and Hector Luna.
Orioles left fielder Jay Payton recorded an unassisted double play to end the fifth inning. With Vernon Wells at second and Reed Johnson at first, the Blue Jays tried to hit and run. Alex Rios lined out sharply to Payton, who jogged in to second to double off Wells, who had no chance to get back to the base.
"I've never seen one before like that," said interim manager Tom Treblehorn, who is leading the Orioles while Trembley serves a three-game suspension. "It was fortuitous for us."
Burres was also grateful for Payton's timely play.
"That was real big," Burres said. "If he doesn't do that I've still got runners at first and second with the Big Hurt (Frank Thomas) coming up."
It was the first unassisted double play by an outfielder since Washington's Jose Guillen did it May 8, 2005, against San Francisco.
"I was kind of wishing there weren't any outs so I could have had a chance to turn a triple play by myself," Payton said.
Baltimore took a 2-0 lead in the first. Tike Redman doubled, Nick Markakis singled and Miguel Tejada was hit by a pitch before Redman scored on a wild pitch by Toronto right-hander Jesse Litsch. One out later, Markakis scored on an infield single by Huff.
Roberts made it 3-0 with a solo homer in the second and Huff tripled and scored on a Ramon Hernandez single in the third.
Baltimore made it 6-0 in the ninth on a single by Payton and back-to-back doubles from Redman and Markakis.
Litsch (5-9) lasted just three innings, his shortest outing since pitching 2/3 of an inning against the New York Yankees on May 30. He allowed four runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out five.
Litsch, who has allowed 13 homers in 90 2/3 innings, is 1-5 in his past eight starts.
Trembley was suspended following an animated tirade near second base after he was ejected from Wednesday's 18-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. ... The Blue Jays claimed INF Joe Inglett off waivers from Cleveland Friday, but he will not join the team this season. To make room on the 40-man roster, 3B Troy Glaus was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Glaus is scheduled to undergo season-ending foot surgery next week. ... Toronto Raptors forward Anthony Peterson attended the game.