|Baltimore (88-66) «||0||0||0||2||1||1||0||0||x||4||10||0|
BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones has waited his entire career to be in a pennant race, and he's making the most of it.
Jones went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBI, and the Baltimore Orioles moved within a half-game of the AL East lead with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday in the opener of a doubleheader.
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Ryan Flaherty hit a solo shot for the Orioles, who matched the division-leading New York Yankees in the win column (88). New York was scheduled to play at Minnesota on Monday night.
The victory also solidified Baltimore's grasp on the top AL wild-card slot over Oakland.
Jones' four hits tied a career high. He has hit safely in 18 of 22 games in September, with six home runs and 13 RBI.
"Adam relishes competition," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's obviously had a heck of a year. He's turning into quite a player."
Asked if Jones deserves consideration for AL MVP, Showalter replied, "This team, we haven't really thought about that type of stuff yet. That will be fodder when our work's done here."
Now in his seventh season, Jones has already set a career high with 32 homers, and his two runs scored put him over 100 for the first time. After enjoying his fifth multi-RBI game this month, the All-Star center fielder needs to drive in three more runs to eclipse his previous high of 83, set last year.
Orioles rookie Steve Johnson (4-0) allowed three hits over five shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.62. Half his big league wins have come against Toronto.
Although the Jays got two runners on base in three of the first four innings, Johnson worked out of trouble on each occasion.
"When you do that, you have to make a pitch in there, just bear down, throw a few pitches, make sure they don't make good contact on it," he said.
Jim Johnson, the fifth Baltimore pitcher, worked the ninth for his 48th save in 51 opportunities.
It was the seventh straight loss for the Blue Jays, matching a season high. Toronto has been outscored 46-17 during the skid, which began during a three-trip to Yankee Stadium and continued in Tampa Bay.
"We can't run from what's taking place, and yet we have to continue to battle," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Henderson Alvarez (9-14) gave up four runs, eight hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. He's 2-7 in his last 10 starts.
Speaking through an interpreter, Alvarez addressed the two homers he yielded by saying, "Pitch to Jones was high changeup. He's a good hitter and he did what he was supposed to do with that pitch. The other kid, the second baseman, [I] felt like it was a good pitch and he did a good job with it."
In the fourth, Chris Davis walked and Jones followed with a drive to left to put Baltimore up 2-0. Flaherty connected in the fifth, and Jones singled in the sixth and came home on a double-play grounder.
|Adam Jones (right) homers and matches a career-high with four hits in the Orioles' victory against the Blue Jays. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Brett Lawrie, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||1||0||.274|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.226|
|Edwin Encarnacion, DH||4||1||1||0||0||3||4||.280|
|Adam Lind, 1B||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.238|
|Rajai Davis, RF||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.243|
|Kelly Johnson, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.225|
|Adeiny Hechavarria, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.252|
|J.P. Arencibia, C||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.223|
|Jeff Mathis, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.216|
|a- Yunel Escobar, PH-SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.254|
|Anthony Gose, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.213|
|a-struck out for Mathis in the 7th|
|2B - Rajai Davis (23, Hunter)|
|RBI - Rajai Davis (39)|
|2-OUT RBI - Rajai Davis (19)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Outfield Assists - Colby Rasmus 1|
|DP - Hechavarria-Johnson-Lind, Hechavarria-Johnson-Lind|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Henderson Alvarez (L,9-14)||5.2||8||4||4||3||6||2||4.91|
|IBB - Thome by Henderson Alvarez|
|WP - Jason Frasor (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Henderson Alvarez 89-52, Brett Cecil 8-5, Jason Frasor 9-6, Chad Beck 15-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Henderson Alvarez 7-1, Brett Cecil 1-1, Chad Beck 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Henderson Alvarez 25, Brett Cecil 3, Jason Frasor 2, Chad Beck 3|
|Nate McLouth, LF||4||0||2||0||0||2||0||.240|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.232|
|Chris Davis, RF||3||1||1||0||1||2||2||.264|
|Endy Chavez, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.208|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||2||4||2||0||0||0||.292|
|Matt Wieters, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.251|
|Jim Thome, DH||2||0||0||0||2||0||0||.250|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.228|
|Ryan Flaherty, 2B||3||1||1||1||0||1||3||.226|
|Robert Andino, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.211|
|Manny Machado, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.262|
|2B - Matt Wieters (27, Alvarez)|
|HR - Adam Jones (32, Alvarez), Ryan Flaherty (5, Alvarez)|
|RBI - Adam Jones 2 (81), Ryan Flaherty (14)|
|SB - Nate McLouth (10, 2nd base off Frasor/Arencibia), Adam Jones (15, 2nd base off Beck/Arencibia)|
|CS - Adam Jones (7, 3rd base by Beck/Arencibia)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Hardy-Flaherty-Reynolds, Hardy-Andino-Reynolds|
|Steve Johnson (W,4-0)||5||3||0||0||3||6||0||1.62|
|Troy Patton (H,9)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.50|
|Darren O'Day (H,12)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.35|
|Jim Johnson (S,48)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.60|
|Pitches-Strikes - Steve Johnson 96-60, Troy Patton 12-6, Tommy Hunter 38-26, Darren O'Day 4-3, Jim Johnson 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Steve Johnson 3-6, Troy Patton 1-1, Tommy Hunter 1-1, Jim Johnson 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Steve Johnson 21, Troy Patton 3, Tommy Hunter 8, Darren O'Day 1, Jim Johnson 3|
|Attendance - 0|
|Game Time - 2:43|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Brian O'Nora|