TORONTO (AP) Three really was the magic number for the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion each hit three-run homers to power the Blue Jays to a 9-3 win over the Orioles.
”That’s where home runs came in handy,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ”Home runs do win and we had the three big ones.”
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Lawrie’s eighth-inning homer off Evan Meek (0-1) snapped a 3-all tie in front of a sparse crowd of 14,866 at Rogers Centre and Cabrera connected for his fifth of the season off Josh Stinson later in the inning, putting the Blue Jays in front, 9-3. Encarnacion’s long ball, his first of the season, snapped a 25-game home run drought, which was the fourth longest of his career.
The nine runs are tied for the second most Toronto has scored this season.
Steve Delabar (2-0) and Esmil Rogers threw scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to help the Blue Jays improve to 3-1 against the Orioles this season. Toronto is alone in second place in the rugged American League East after 20 games.
”We have a very talented team and we know we can hit so when we start hitting it’s going to be great to watch this team play,” Encarnacion said.
R.A. Dickey and Miguel Gonzalez were entangled in a pitchers’ duel early.
Baltimore was unable to solve Dickey through five innings, but the club’s fortunes changed against the knuckleballer in the sixth. After Steve Lombardozzi hit a leadoff double, Dickey issued a walk to put two on for Nelson Cruz, who hit a three-run homer, his fourth of the season, to put the Orioles ahead, 3-0.
The Orioles didn’t hold the lead for long.
Like Dickey, Gonzalez cruised through five innings and entered the sixth with a lead, but gave it right back in a hurry. With two on and one out, Encarnacion homered to tie it at 3.
Gonzalez lasted 5 2-3 innings, allowing three runs – two earned – on four hits, while walking two and striking out a season-high seven. T.J. McFarland, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk prior to the game, relieved Gonzalez and stranded a pair of runners to get the Orioles out of the inning.
”He gave us a chance to win, I can’t fault his effort,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Gonzalez. ”It’s not easy going through these (AL East) lineups.”
Dickey came back out for the seventh and was quickly chased after allowing back-to-back hits to put runners on second and third, but Baltimore came up short.
With the bases loaded and one out, left-hander Brett Cecil struck out a pair of batters to escape the seventh unharmed.
Dickey allowed three runs on six hits, walked three, hit a batter, and struck out six. Toronto’s No. 1 starter has issued a major league-leading 18 walks and has a 5.90 ERA after five starts.
”There’s a consistent pattern that’s emerging where I feel like I’m an All-Star for the first four or five innings of a ballgame, then I get to pitches 75 to 100 and it’s like I’m a different human being out there,” Dickey said. ”I’m trying to figure out what’s that’s about physically, but there are a lot of positives.”
The Orioles fell to 2-3 on their current seven-game road trip.
NOTES: Orioles 3B Manny Machado (left knee) is expected to begin a rehab assignment Friday at High A Frederick. Machado has yet to play a game this season. … Baltimore C Matt Wieters (forearm) and SS J.J. Hardy (hamstring) were out of the lineup for Tuesday’s series opener and are both considered day to day. … Orioles OF Steve Pearce was designated for assignment to make room for McFarland on the club’s 25-man roster. … Toronto OF Jose Bautista walked in the first inning and has reached base safely in all 20 games this season, the longest active streak in baseball. … Blue Jays RH Dustin McGowan will face Orioles RH Chris Tillman Wednesday night.