Orioles beat Jays, move a game behind Yankees in AL East
Toronto, Canada (4E Sports) – Veteran Joe Saunders took a perfect game into the sixth inning before settling for a three-hitter to lift the Baltimore Orioles to a crucial 4-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Monday at Rogers Centre.
Coupled with the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles are now just a game back of New York in the American League East.
Saunders (1-1) retired the first 17 batters he faced before No. 9 hitter Adeiny Hechavarria spoiled his bid for perfection with a two-out single. He finished the game with two walks and two strikeouts for his first win as an Oriole.
He made 21 starts with the Diamondbacks, going 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA over 130 innings, before joining the Orioles. In his debut, Saunders was roughed up by the Chicago White Sox for seven runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Against Saunders, the Tigers big bats went silent in the first six innings before Hechavarria knocked in a single and Rajai Davis drew a walk. But Saunders responded by striking out Colby Rasmus to strand both runners and escape the frame.
In the seventh, Saunders issued a walk to Edwin Encarnacion and two singles to Adam Lind and Kelly Johnson to load the bases before he was pulled out for Luis Ayala, who escaped the jam by striking out Moises Sierra and getting Jeff Mathis to fly out to center fielder Adam Jones.
Saunders was given an early lead after Nate McLouth brought in Manny Machado with a squeeze bunt to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles extended their lead in the fifth, starting the inning with four consecutive hits against starter JA Happ (3-2), including back-to-back RBI doubles by Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy, to make it 3-0.
Hardy added an RBI single in the eighth off reliever Brett Cecil to increase Baltimore’s lead to 4-0.
Happ lasted five innings, allowing three runs on six hits while walking two and striking out nine. The nine strikeouts represented the most Happ (3-2) has recorded since joining the Blue Jays via a trade in July.