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Orioles sweep past Blue Jays

BALTIMORE - Brian Matusz pitched as well as he has in two years, and still, he left the mound at the end of six hanging his head with the Baltimore Orioles down by one.

The left-hander didn't allow an earned run, and his teammates weren't going to let that effort go to waste.

Just after Matusz lost the chance to win because of a two-run error in the sixth, the Orioles drew even in the bottom of the frame. Then they ensured the strong start contributed to a victory.

Adam Jones and Chris Davis broke the tie with homers in the eighth, sending Baltimore to its fourth straight win and a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-2 before 13,725 at Camden Yards.

Jones flew reliever Casey Janssen's first pitch of the eighth into the first row of the left-field seats for his sixth homer, giving the Orioles (12-7) a 3-2 lead. Matt Wieters chased Janssen (1-1) with a single on the next pitch.

Davis then victimized Darren Oliver for a two-run homer to right-center and a three-run Orioles lead. It was Davis' third of the year.

Winning late and with a dramatic flair has become a regular occurrence for the Orioles this season, and the players are enjoying it.

"If the situation calls for it, I'm not going to shy away from it," Jones said. "I'm just looking for something out over the plate. Not necessarily a first-pitch slider away, but I was looking for a heater up, something to drive. I was able to just get enough of it to hit it out."

Darren O'Day (2-0) struck out three over two perfect innings to earn the win and Luis Ayala pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save since Sept. 23, 2008, as chants of "Sweep," rained down from those in attendance.

Although Matusz took a no-decision from six strong innings - two runs (none earned) on four hits and two walks - his teammates wanted better for him.

"I just wish we could have got him a W," Jones said. "But we won as a team and he understands that. He went out and threw six very, very, very good innings. You can't do nothing but be proud."

Matusz wasn't charged with a run for the first time since Sept. 27, 2010, and avoided matching Mike Boddicker's club-record streak of 13 straight losses for another five days.

Even though he couldn't snap his skid, Matusz pitched much better than in his first three starts of 2012, when he went 0-3 with a 7.98 ERA.

"I've felt good out there in multiple outings," he said. "Just today I was able to be consistent and really find myself getting into a groove and putting everything together."

Two of the four hits off Matusz were infield knocks, and Baltimore manager Buck Showalter hopes to see more of the same as the year goes on.

"He pitches like that, he's going to get all the wins he wants," Showalter said.

Matusz put himself in position to end the sixth with the Orioles still ahead 2-0, but a defensive miscue took that away.

Fans went from loudly cheering Matusz to booing first baseman Nick Johnson in a blink.

They knew the gravity of the situation for the left-hander. With two on and two down, Matusz worked the count to 1-2 against Eric Thames. The Toronto left fielder hit a hard bouncer down the first-base line, but Johnson whiffed at a fieldable ball that made it all the way to the right-field corner.

Both runners scored on the error, turning a 1-0 Orioles lead into a 2-1 deficit.

"Obviously not everything's going to go your way all the time, but the guys have been making great plays back there," Matusz said. "That's out of my control, but the guys are playing hard, good defense."

Baltimore answered immediately, making sure Matusz wouldn't lose for the first time this season in the bottom of the sixth. Nick Markakis started the inning by scorching starter Drew Hutchison's first pitch of the frame to left for a double. The next at-bat, Jones hit a single to the left side of the infield. Shortstop Yunel Escobar fielded it close to the grass and fired wide of first, letting Markakis score the tying run.

Two innings later, the Orioles remained atop the AL East thanks to Jones' and Davis' longballs.

"Winning feels good, no matter when you do it," Jones said. "To start the season playing good baseball, it's fun. You've got to maintain it throughout the whole year."

NOTE: Ryan Flaherty recorded his first career RBI on a sacrifice fly and his first two career base hits. The first was a bunt single and the second was a grounder into right.

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