- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BALTIMORE | If this was indeed Jake Arrieta’s final outing of the season, the rookie will probably savor his performance against the Toronto Blue Jays deep into the winter.

Arrieta allowed four hits over six shutout innings, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones homered, and the Baltimore Orioles beat Toronto 11-3 on Tuesday night to win a fourth straight series for the first time since 2004.

It was the most lopsided victory of the season for the Orioles, who have won twice to begin the three-game set. Baltimore was 0-12 against Toronto at the outset of the series.

Arrieta (6-6) struck out five and walked one. He had only one perfect inning, but the Blue Jays were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position while he was in the game.

It was the first time in 18 career starts the right-hander did not give up a run. Afterward, manager Buck Showalter was asked if it might be time to shut down Arrieta, who’s already thrown more than 22 innings more than his previous season high as a professional.

“He’s about 20-plus over, so that’s a real quality question,” Showalter said.

Arrieta wasn’t warm to the idea of hitting the bench until next spring.

“I definitely don’t want to be shut down. The rest of the guys are going to be here working for the last two or three weeks of the season and I want to be doing the same thing,” he said. “But anytime you finish the season you want to finish on a high note. If something like that were to happen, an outing like this is a good one to end on.”

The Orioles led 3-0 before pulling away with a six-run seventh inning. Jones and Matt Wieters hit RBI singles before Robert Andino capped the uprising with a three-run double.

Toronto’s Aaron Hill homered off Pedro Viola with two on in the eighth, and Jones answered with a two-run drive in the bottom half.

After taking two of three from Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees and Detroit, Baltimore has four successive series wins for the first time since August 2004. The Orioles are 25-15, including 15-8 at home, since Showalter made his debut in the dugout on Aug. 3.

“Everybody is having fun, everybody is loosening up,” Andino said.

“I think we’ve really turned the corner as a team, defensively, offensively, our starters, our bullpen,” Arrieta said. “The players, we’re the ones out there getting the job done. But Buck deserves a lot of credit for the things he’s done with this team.”

Although Toronto extended its run of consecutive games with a homer to 16, that was the highlight of an otherwise dreary night. The Blue Jays have lost six of seven and now stand at one game over .500 (73-72) for the first time since July 25.

“The bullpen just didn’t pick us up, plus we didn’t hit the ball, either,” manager Cito Gaston said. “We’re not really swinging the bats well. We haven’t swung them well for the last three ball games; not like we did in the past.”

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