Colby Rasmus wasn’t thrilled with his Toronto Blue Jays debut, but he was certainly impressed with his new teammates’ 12-hit attack.
Edwin Encarnacion and Eric Thames hit back-to-back home runs, Carlos Villanueva won for the first time in five starts and Toronto beat the Orioles 8-5 on Thursday night, handing Baltimore its eighth consecutive series loss.
Encarnacion went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and scored twice for the Blue Jays, who have won 27 of 31 home games against Baltimore dating to 2008.
“Fun to watch, that was awesome,” Rasmus said of his new team’s offensive showing. “I was ready to get in on some of the action. I wasn’t able to do it today but I felt pretty good, I feel good about the situation. I think it’s going to be a good time.”
Acquired from St. Louis on Wednesday, Rasmus started in centre field and hit second. He went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts and was the only Toronto starter not to reach base.
“With all the stuff going on, my mind was all over the place,” Rasmus said. “I couldn’t relax and settle down, my mind was everywhere.”
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he wasn’t surprised Rasmus had trouble keeping things straight.
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“I’m sure today was a little bit of a whirlwind for him,” Farrell said. “Tonight he might have pulled off a few pitches that otherwise he stays on but we’ve just got to give him an opportunity to settle in.”
Baltimore has not won a series since taking two of three against Cincinnati from June 24-26.
“It’s unfortunate,” Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said. “We started out on top and couldn’t maintain it.”
Elsewhere in the AL it was: Los Angeles 12 Detroit 7; Texas 4 Minnesota 1; Kansas City 4 Boston 3; and Tampa Bay 10 Oakland 8.
At Toronto, Hardy homered to left on Villanueva’s second pitch of the game, his 17th and the fourth time this season he’s led off a game with a home run.
Two outs later, Guerrero whacked a drive to left, his eighth.
“Not the way I wanted to start off,” Villanueva said.
Toronto tied it in the bottom of the first against Brad Bergesen. The Blue Jays loaded the bases with a double, a walk and an error by first baseman Derrek Lee before Encarnacion drew a bases-loaded walk and Thames followed with a sacrifice fly.
“At this level, momentum is everything,” Bergesen said. “We had it in our favour and I gave it right back.”
Villanueva (6-2) had not won since beating St. Louis on June 25. He allowed four runs and six hits in five innings, walked two and struck out one.
Toronto newcomer P.J. Walters, Casey Janssen and Frank Francisco each pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Jon Rauch gave up Hardy’s second homer in the ninth.
Four of Hardy’s five hits in the series were home runs.
“It’s good to see J.J. Hardy leave,” Farrell said. “He had a heck of a series.”
The Blue Jays took the lead for good and chased Bergesen with a four-run third, doing all the damage with two outs. Encarnacion homered to left, his eighth, and Thames followed with a drive to right, his fifth. It was the sixth time this season the Blue Jays went back-to-back.
“It’s disappointing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ve got an 0-2 count, two outs and nobody on. Next thing you know he’s given up some runs that were a dagger for us.”
Aaron Hill walked and went to third on Travis Snider’s single, sliding in safely when third baseman Mark Reynolds dropped the throw. Both runners scored when J.P. Arencibia followed with a double down the left-field line, with Snider safe at the plate when Matt Wieters fumbled the relay from Reynolds.
Showalter called the missed catches “two sure outs we should have had.”
Bergesen (2-7) allowed six runs, four earned, and six hits in three innings, his shortest outing of the season. He walked three and struck out none.
“I didn’t slow the game down when I needed to,” Bergesen said. “I just kept going quicker and quicker with my tempo.”
Baltimore cut it to 6-4 in the fifth on a two-run single by Jones, but the Blue Jays answered with two in the bottom half against reliever Mark Hendrickson. Encarnacion scored from third when Reynolds couldn’t handle a pickoff throw from Wieters, and Yunel Escobar followed with an RBI single.
Hardy hit a two-out homer in the ninth, his 18th. It was his second multihomer game of the series and the sixth of his career.
Angels 12 Tigers 7
At Detroit, Mark Trumbo homered and drove in a career-high five runs to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Tigers.
Rangers 4 Twins 1
At Arlington, Texas, Matt Harrison worked into the eighth inning to cap his unbeaten July for AL West-leading Texas and outpitched Scott Baker.
Royals 4 Red Sox 3
At Boston, Billy Butler hit a three-run homer and Luke Hochevar pitched seven strong innings as Kansas City handed Josh Beckett his first loss in over a month.
Rays 10 Athletics 8
At Oakland, Calif., Desmond Jennings hit his first career home run and later added a two-run double in a seven-run seventh inning as Tampa Bay rallied from five runs down.