J.P. Arencibia broke open a tight game with a seventh-inning grand slam, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 9-5 Monday night to earn a doubleheader split and drop the Orioles 1 1/2 games out of first place in the A.L. East.
In the opener, Adam Jones went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs to lead Baltimore to a 4-1 victory. But the Orioles lost a half-game in the standings Monday to the New York Yankees, who won 6-3 at Minnesota.
The Orioles fell behind 4-0 in the nightcap and missed several bases-loaded chances to take the lead before Arencibia connected off Jake Arrieta to give Toronto a 9-4 cushion.
Juan Encarnacion hit his 41st home run for the Blue Jays, who snapped a seven-game skid. Arencibia, who came into the game mired in a 2-for-36 slump, finished with three hits and five RBIs.
Ricky Romero (9-14) allowed four runs, eight hits, four walks and a homer in five-plus innings. But a strong performance by the Toronto bullpen enabled the left-hander to end a 13-game losing streak over 15 starts since June 22.
Encarnacion put the Blue Jays up 2-0 against Wei-Yin Chen (12-10) with a two-run drive in the first inning. In the second inning, Arencibia hit a sacrifice fly and Anthony Gose added an RBI single.
In the first game, Orioles rookie Steve Johnson (4-0) allowed three hits over five shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.62.
Jones’ four hits tied a career high. Now in his seventh season, Jones has already set career highs with 32 homers and 101 runs, and the center fielder needs only three RBIs to eclipse his high of 83.
Marlins’ Bell critical of manager Guillen
Marlins reliever Heath Bell was critical of manager Ozzie Guillen in a radio interview Monday.
Bell told Miami station WQAM that “it’s been an interesting year with Ozzie.” He also said the team needs a manager “that everybody respects.”
Clearing the bases
The average regular season attendance in the minor leagues dropped 1.5 percent this year while the total rose slightly. The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues said Monday the average was 3,967, down from 4,029. The total rose to 41.28 million for 10,045 dates, up from 41.25 million for 10,238 dates. There was increase of two teams this year to 176. … Minnesota has activated reliever Matt Capps from the disabled list.