- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2003

TORONTO (AP) — Jeff Conine and Tony Batista homered as the Baltimore Orioles ended an eight-game losing streak to the Toronto Blue Jays with a 6-4 victory last night.

Carlos Delgado hit his AL-leading 23rd homer in the ninth inning for the Blue Jays. He leads the majors with 81 RBI — the most ever by a Toronto player before the All-Star break

Conine hit a two-run homer off Kelvim Escobar (5-4) in the fourth to cut Baltimore’s deficit to 3-2.

Escobar hit Conine on the left shoulder with a pitch in the sixth. Conine glared at Escobar as he walked to first base, and plate umpire Ed Rapuano warned both dugouts.

Jay Gibbons followed with a two-run double past first baseman Carlos Delgado, giving Baltimore a 4-3 lead. Batista then chased Escobar with a two-run homer.

Baltimore starter Rick Helling (5-5) allowed three runs on six hits, striking out two and walking a season-high five in 5⅔ innings.

B.J. Ryan, Buddy Groom, Kerry Ligtenberg and Jorge Julio followed with 3⅓ innings of one-run relief. Julio pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 20 chances, allowing Delgado’s homer.

Baltimore lost 12 of its previous 13 games against Toronto. The Blue Jays went 15-4 against the Orioles last season.

Orlando Hudson hit a two-run triple for the Blue Jays, who entered the day one game back of the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

Escobar, who came in with an 8-1 career record against Baltimore, allowed six runs on six hits in 5⅓ innings. His eight wins and nine saves lifetime against the Orioles are his most against any opponent.

Toronto’s Reed Johnson bunted for an RBI single in the third. Hudson set off fireworks when he tripled into the gap in right-center in the third. The person who controls the fireworks mistakenly thought it was a home run, and they exploded as Hudson rounded second.

After Escobar walked B.J. Surhoff in the fourth, Conine hit the first pitch for his ninth home run.

Notes — Baltimore’s Melvin Mora, the AL’s leading hitter, missed his fourth straight game since being hit by a pitch on his right hand Friday night. Manager Mike Hargrove said Mora would return Wednesday. … Toronto manager Carlos Tosca gave DH Josh Phelps a day off so Johnson could play. … Escobar went 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA over his previous three starts. … Escobar didn’t allow a home run in his first 45 innings as a starter this season. … Batista also homered Monday night and has 13 this year. … Joe Carter had 80 RBI before the All-Star break for Toronto in 1994, and Delgado had 80 in 2000.

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