The Toronto Blue Jays went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners stranded as the Baltimore Orioles closed out the rubber match of their series with a 3-1 win Sunday at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto’s best chance to get back in the game came in the bottom of the seventh, but relief right-hander Tommy Hunter struck out Moises Sierra on a 96 mph cutter, leaving the bases loaded.
Baltimore (79-70) took two games of three from Toronto (68-81), and moved within three games of Tampa Bay and the Texas Rangers for a wildcard spot in the American League.
Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (10-7) pitched 5.1 innings, allowing six hits, one earned run and struck out two. However, Gonzalez strained his groin on an Adam Lind strikeout and was replaced by Kevin Gausman.
He, Francisco Rodriguez and Hunter kept the Jays at bay until the ninth inning. Closer Jim Johnson then recorded his 45th save of the season, getting Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie to ground out, before striking out Edwin Encarnacion to end the game.
Mark Buerhle started for the Jays, allowing six hits, two earned runs and struck out four in five innings.
The runs all came early in the game. Adam Lind opened up the scoring in the bottom of the second with a solo shot to right field, his 21st of the season.
Danny Valencia answered in the top of the third with a two-run double to left field, scoring both Nick Markakis and Adam Jones to put Baltimore up 2-1. Buerhle found himself in trouble in the top of the fourth as well, walking Chris Davis with the bases loaded to bring in Michael Morse for the final run of the game.
Jose Reyes struggled all day, going 0-for-5 with two fly outs. Edwin Encarnacion went 1-for-5 with a double. Moises Sierra had two more hits, bringing his total to 11 for the series.
The Blue Jays have a day off, then welcome the New York Yankees for a three-game series before going on a seven-game road trip. Baltimore travels to Boston for a three-game set starting Tuesday, before a crucial four-game series in Tampa.
Jays OF Colby Rasmus did not play, after homering on both Friday and Saturday since returning from the DL with an oblique strain … The Orioles are on pace to break the 2003 Seattle Mariners record for least errors in a game (66), Baltimore is projected for only 47 errors on the season.