Caleb Joseph, Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis hit solo home runs as the Baltimore Orioles sent the Toronto Blue Jays to their fourth loss in a row on Tuesday with a 9-3 victory.
The Blue Jays, who returned from a 6-4 road trip, dropped to five games off the pace in the American League East behind the first-place Orioles, who won their third game in a row.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie, who suffered a broken finger in June, returned to the Blue Jays’ lineup from the disabled list for the game.
Lawrie had a single in his only at-bat and left after three innings with a tight back. Danny Valencia took his place at third base.
Orioles right-hander Bud Norris (9-7) held the Blue Jays to seven hits and two runs on a homer by Colby Rasmus in 5 1/3 innings. Norris is 3-0 in five career starts against Toronto.
Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle (11-8) allowed 10 hits, including two home runs, three walks and four runs in four innings. He is 1-7 in his past 11 starts.
The Orioles (64-48) stranded five runners over the first two innings before cashing in with a run in the third on a one-out walk to Delmon Young and a two-out double by J.J. Hardy.
The Orioles took a 4-0 lead with a three-run fourth that opened with back-to-back homers by Joseph and Schoop.
Nick Markakis and Manny Machado followed with singles before Adam Jones popped out. Young’s grounder to third took a bad hop for an RBI single. Nelson Cruz grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Blue Jays (60-54) cut the lead in half in the fourth inning on a leadoff single by Dioner Navarro and, with two out, the 15th homer of the season by Rasmus.
Davis hit his 18th homer of the year against right-hander Aaron Sanchez with one out in the fifth to give the Orioles a 5-2 lead.
Sanchez allowed another run in the sixth on two walks and a single by Cruz.
Left-hander Brian Matusz replaced Norris in the sixth after Valencia’s one-out single.
Matusz was replaced by right-hander Tommy Hunter after Ryan Goins and Jose Reyes started the seventh inning with singles. Melky Cabrera singled to load the bases. Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly to right to cut the lead to 6-3, but Navarro ended the threat when he grounded into a double play.
The Orioles increased their lead to 9-3 in the eighth after Dustin McGowan allowed walks to Machado and Young and a single to Jones to load the bases. Cruz hit a sacrifice fly and Hardy singled in a run.
Left-hander Aaron Loup took over and allowed a sacrifice fly by Davis on a foul ball that was caught by Valencia who had a long run down the line.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 36,183. Blue Jays INF Steve Tolleson was put on the paternity list and that opened a spot for INF Brett Lawrie who was reinstated from the DL for Tuesday’s game. Lawrie suffered a broken right index finger when hit by a pitch at Cincinnati on June 22. Lawrie was 4-for-10 in three games on a rehabilitation assignment with single-A Dunedin. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says DH Adam Lind (right foot fracture) could return to the Blue Jays by the weekend or by the beginning of next week. A return date for 1B Edwin Encarnacion (right quadriceps strain) is still undetermined although he is swinging a bat and has resumed running after a minor setback. RHP Drew Hutchison (7-9, 4.62 earned-run average) will pitch for the Blue Jays on Wednesday against Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen (12-3, 3.76 ERA).