Saunders' 3 HRs, 8 RBIs carry Blue Jays past Orioles 13-3
BALTIMORE (AP) Michael Saunders set career highs with three homers and eight RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays blew past the Baltimore Orioles 13-2 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Saunders connected with two on against Mike Wright (3-4) in the first inning, added another three-run drive off Wright in the fourth and went deep against Ubaldo Jimenez with a man on in the sixth.
Batting in the eighth against T.J. McFarland and with the chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, Saunders bounced into a bases-loaded double play.
That did little to ruin Saunders' finest game in the big leagues since he debuted with Seattle in 2009. He raised his home run total for the season to 15, second-most in his career behind the 19 he hit for Seattle in 2012.
In eight games against Baltimore this season, Saunders is 18 for 33 with five home runs and 12 RBIs.
Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak also homered for the surging Blue Jays, who have won seven of eight to move within a game of first-place Baltimore in the AL East.
Aaron Sanchez (7-1) allowed two runs and seven hits over six innings to earn his second win over the Orioles in a six-day span.
Before the game, the Blue Jays placed outfielder Jose Bautista on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left big toe, an injury that occurred Thursday night in Philadelphia. He has 12 homers and a team-high 48 walks.
Toronto didn't need him Friday. The Blue Jays have outscored the opposition 65-32 in their last seven games.
Saunders led the charge. His first homer gave Toronto the lead for good, and his second of the night was the key blow in a seven-run fourth inning that made it 11-2.
Wright surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings and Jimenez yielded five in 2 1/3 innings.
Ryan Flaherty homered for Baltimore in the ninth.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (right quad) is close to coming off the DL. ''You might see him in the next couple days,'' manager John Gibbons said.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (fractured left foot) will either be activated off the DL on Saturday or extend his rehab assignment at Class-A Frederick, manager Buck Showalter said.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (4-7, 4.16 ERA) starts on Saturday in the second game of the series. He's 2-6 lifetime against the Orioles.
Orioles: Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 7.00) comes off the DL to make his first start since being sidelined in late April with right shoulder biceps tendinitis.