- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2004

BALTIMORE — During a season that long ago went sour, the Toronto Blue Jays have found happiness in one place: Camden Yards.

Gregg Zaun homered and Orlando Hudson had three hits and an RBI, leading Toronto past the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 last night.

The Blue Jays are 38-40 at home and 27-50 on the road, but in Baltimore they’re 6-1. Toronto swept the Orioles in a three-game set last month and started this four-game series looking nothing like a last-place club.

“If you go through the motions, people can tell and they label you as losers,” interim manager John Gibbons said. “I haven’t seen any of that. The guys are responding pretty good, but it would be nice to finish on a good note going into the offseason.”

Melvin Mora went 3-for-4 with a homer for the Orioles, whose four-game winning streak ended. The defeat means Baltimore (74-81) will complete a seventh straight season without a winning record.

“We just have to keep our heads high, finish strong and see what happens,” Orioles starter Sidney Ponson said.

Ponson (11-15) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings, falling to 8-3 since the All-Star break. The right-hander gave up six hits in the first two innings, but managed to pitch through the sixth for the 15th straight time.

“I couldn’t throw my breaking pitch for a strike, and when they know a fastball’s coming they can jump on it,” he said.

Zaun homered on an 0-2 fastball in the second inning to put the Blue Jays up 2-1, and that was enough on a night in which the Orioles could manage only seven hits against five Toronto pitchers.

Pitching for the second time since ending a two-month stint on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, Toronto starter Roy Halladay allowed one run and four hits before being pulled after throwing 70 pitches in three innings.

He was replaced by Bob File, who entered with a 3-1 lead. He blanked the Orioles in the fourth but was yanked in the fifth when Baltimore put runners on first and third with one out.

League (1-0) then retired Miguel Tejada on a liner to third and Rafael Palmeiro on a fly to left. Pitching in his third major league game, League allowed one hit in 22/3 scoreless innings.

“I didn’t know I got the win until after the game,” he said. “I’m just happy being up here, but the win makes me feel great.”

Justin Speier worked the eighth and Miguel Batista got three outs for his fourth save.

Notes — Orioles scouting director Tony DeMacio will be dismissed from the job after the season ends, executive vice president Jim Beattie said yesterday. DeMacio was the team’s scouting director for six seasons. … Infielder Jose Leon almost will certainly be sidelined for the rest of the season with a strained left calf. … Tejada went 0-for-4 after being selected AL player of the week for Sept. 20-26.

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