Blue Jays Beat Orioles 8-3

Saturday, September 15th 2007, 3:46 pm
By: News On 6

TORONTO (AP) _ Frank Thomas hit his 509th career home run, one of a club-record seven consecutive hits to begin the game, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 on Saturday.

Toronto won for just the second time in eight games, while Baltimore lost for the 19th time in 24 games. The eight runs were the most Toronto had scored in a single game since a 13-10 loss at Boston on Sept. 3.

Roy Halladay worked seven strong innings to win for the first time in six starts. Halladay (15-7) allowed one run and five hits, walked two and struck out two. His last win came Aug. 14 against the Los Angeles Angels.

It was a miserable afternoon for Orioles left-hander Kurt Birkins, who didn't retire any of the six batters he faced.

Making just his second major league start, Birkins (1-2) gave up back-to-back singles to Vernon Wells and Reed Johnson before Alex Rios hit a two-run double. Thomas followed with a two-run homer, Aaron Hill singled and Matt Stairs doubled to right, sending Hill to third.

Right-hander Rob Bell replaced Birkins and gave up a two-run single to Gregg Zaun, who was thrown out trying to advance to second. The inning ended when Hector Luna and John McDonald flied out.

The seven hits to begin the game broke Toronto's previous mark of five, set May 8, 1987, at Texas. The major league record for consecutive hits to begin a game is eight.

It's the second time this season Toronto has scored six runs in the first _ they last did it Aug. 4 against Texas. Toronto's record for first-inning runs is seven.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the seventh when Nick Markakis dropped Luna's sinking line drive, bringing home Hill and Zaun.

Jason Frasor pitched to three batters in the eighth before Scott Downs got two outs. Casey Janssen worked the final 1 1-3 innings for the Blue Jays.

Toronto has hit .300 against left-handers this season, tied with Seattle for highest in the major leagues. The Mariners were scheduled to face Tampa Bay left-hander Scott Kazmir on Saturday night.

Baltimore's first run came in the fourth when Markakis walked and scored on Aubrey Huff's double.

Huff finished 4-for-4 with two singles and two doubles.

The Orioles added two more in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by J.R. House and Freddie Bynum and an RBI grounder from Markakis.

Notes: Thomas is two homers away from tying Mel Ott (511) for 20th place on baseball's career list. ... Orioles closer Danys Baez has a partial tear in his right elbow and will likely miss the rest of the season. Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Baez will seek a second opinion after an MRI exam Friday revealed the injury. ... Trembley served the final game of a three-game suspension for an animated tirade near second base after he was ejected from Wednesday's 18-6 loss to the Angels.