Manager Dave Trembley wanted to be sure Adam Jones had recovered from an ankle injury that forced the center fielder to miss Sunday's game. Jones insisted he was all right, and after proving it during batting practice was inserted into the starting lineup.
The move paid off for the Orioles, who got two important hits from Jones in an 8-3 victory.
Jones homered in the third inning, then legged out an infield single in a three-run fifth -- one day after being sidelined with a swollen right ankle.
"He was determined to play tonight," Trembley said of Jones. "He's 22 years old. I think he's got a great mind-set. Other than his ability and his tools and everything, the guy's got his head on right."
Jones went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and scored twice. He has reached base safely in 20 straight games, going 29-for-78 (.372) with 15 RBIs.
As he ate heartily from the postgame spread, Jones had a huge ice pack wrapped around his tender ankle.
"I wanted to play (Sunday) but I treated it as an off day," he said. "It didn't hurt (Monday). It felt just like a normal day. It didn't hurt at all."
Ramon Hernandez homered for the Orioles, who climbed out of last place in the AL East ahead of Toronto.
Baltimore went up 6-3 in the fifth against Jesse Litsch (8-7). After Brian Roberts doubled with one out, Jones hit a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop and beat the throw from David Eckstein.
"It gave us an extra out," Trembley said.
With two outs, Aubrey Huff walked to load the bases for Melvin Mora, who chased Litsch with a two-run single up the middle.
"A couple of balls left over the middle and they capitalized on it," Litsch said, "especially with runners in scoring position."
Litsch allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings and fell to 1-6 since May 29.
"He made a couple of mistakes tonight and he paid for it. If he'd get that last out (in the third) instead of having that two-run homer hit against him, we come back into the dugout even," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "I know he's trying hard. Too hard? I don't know. He's just got to make the pitches."
After Litsch left, Luke Scott greeted Brandon League with a run-scoring single, his seventh RBI in five games since the All-Star break.
Hernandez hit a two-run shot in the eighth against Jason Frasor. Only two of his 10 home runs have come with runners on base.
Baltimore rookie Radhames Liz (4-2) gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in 5 2/3 innings. He threw 89 pitches, less than half of them for strikes.
"His ball-strike ratio obviously is not going to get him by at this level. He's going to get burned at some point in time because these guys are too good of hitters," Trembley said. "They are going to make you pay for those walks."
Toronto got a second-inning run when Lyle Overbay drew a leadoff walk and scored on a single by Scott Rolen.
Baltimore went up 3-1 in the third. Kevin Millar singled and took third on a double by Hernandez before Brandon Fahey drove in a run with a grounder and Jones hit an opposite-field shot into the seats in right.
An RBI double by Alex Rios and a sacrifice fly by Rod Barajas brought the Blue Jays even in the fifth.