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Jays use big sticks to protect nest vs. O's

Jays use big sticks to protect nest vs. O's

TORONTO -- There are days when Jose Bautista admittedly feels bad for the Orioles. Monday night was just not one of them. That is because Baltimore's struggles made for an enjoyable night at the ballpark for the Blue Jays.

"When they're not playing against you, you feel bad," Bautista said after the Blue Jays powered their way to a 9-5 win at Rogers Centre. "But, if you're playing them, you've got to obviously think about your team and we're trying to win every game.

"I didn't feel bad for them today."

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Bautista's final comment included a smirk. It was easy to understand why, considering the right fielder launched a critical three-run homer in the fifth and helped halt an eighth-inning rally by throwing an Orioles runner out at second base. All in a day's work for the American League's leader in home runs (28) and outfield assists (eight).

The latest win over Baltimore -- Toronto's 10th in a row against the Orioles -- was carved out by more than Bautista alone, though. Adam Lind and Aaron Hill each enjoyed multi-hit showings and had one home run apiece, Brandon Morrow provided six solid innings on the mound and lefty David Purcey notched his first career save.

Combined, it resulted in the continuation of an impressive streak for the Blue Jays.

"We've played good," said Lind, when asked about Toronto's current run against Baltimore. "We've come from behind and we've played from ahead against them. We'd like to continue it for the rest of the season."

For the first time in franchise history, the Blue Jays (51-49) have opened a season with a 10-0 record against any single opponent. It marks only the sixth time ever that Toronto has pieced together a 10-game winning streak against one team. The club record is 13 wins in a row against the Orioles (1999-2000) and the Indians (1991-92).

Over the course of the current run, the Jays have simply overpowered the Orioles.

In the 10 victories over Baltimore (31-68) -- a club that dismissed manager Dave Trembley in June and is currently searching for a permanent replacement for interim skipper Juan Samuel -- Toronto has scored 57 runs, belted 21 homers, collected 52 extra-base hits and fashioned a 1.90 ERA.

On the other side, the Orioles have scored 21 runs, launched four home runs, picked up 16 extra-base hits and posted a 5.55 ERA. Consider that prior to Monday's five-run outburst, which came between the sixth and eighth innings, Baltimore had not scored more than two runs in a game against Toronto since the clubs' first meeting on April 9.

"It's tough," said Orioles starter Brad Bergesen, who was the latest pitcher victimized by the Blue Jays. "I know we [were] 0-9 against them, but it's not like we gather around in the clubhouse before and say, 'Hey guys, we're 0-9. What are we going to do?' We don't think like that."

Toronto got things rolling in the second inning, when Vernon Wells doubled off Bergesen (3-9) and later came around to score on a single by Hill. The Jays -- shorthanded in the bullpen after a doubleheader on Sunday in Detroit -- then used a three-run outpouring in the fourth inning and a four-run burst in the fifth to run out to an 8-0 advantage

"We needed every bit of it," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.

That was due to Baltimore's late flurry.

After blanking the Orioles for the first five innings, Morrow (7-6) surrendered a two-run homer to catcher Matt Wieters in the sixth -- the pitcher's final frame. Luke Scott then struck for a two-run blast off Jays reliever Casey Janssen, who later yielded a solo shot to Wieters in the eighth.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth -- shortly after Bautista cut Jake Fox down at second base when the Orioles first baseman tried to stretch a single into a double -- Gaston turned to Purcey. The big lefty escaped the eighth unscathed and turned in a flawless ninth for the save.

"I actually enjoy going in in situations like that," Purcey said. "It's a challenge. They're coming after you. I was fortunate to make pitches there and we got out of it."

And, in the process, Purcey secured a 10th win in a row against the Orioles.

Toronto will enjoy the streak while it lasts.

"I'm sure somebody is going to beat up on us," Bautista said. "So it's nice to be able to beat somebody every time we play them."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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