- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2003

BALTIMORE — The Toronto Blue Jays used a familiar formula to extend their mastery of the Baltimore Orioles.

Vernon Wells went 4-for-4, and Carlos Delgado drove in two runs to back a solid pitching effort by Kelvim Escobar in a 5-2 victory last night at Camden Yards.

The 1-2 punch of Wells and Delgado has been outstanding all year, and Escobar is usually at his best when facing the Orioles.

The victory enabled the Blue Jays to clinch third place in the AL East for a sixth straight season and gave them the season series over Baltimore for the third year in a row.

“We played well against the Orioles the last couple of years,” Wells said. “We match up well against this team.”

Needing a home run for the cycle, Wells singled in a three-run eighth and Delgado drove in the tiebreaking run. That gave the Blue Jays their fourth straight victory and eighth in the last nine.

“The one thing we wanted to do when the month started is finish strong,” Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. “Hopefully, in the near future, when we’re playing this month it will be for a playoff spot.”

Larry Bigbie homered for the Orioles, who have lost seven of 10.

Wells’ four hits tied a career high and increased his league-leading hit total to 207. The two RBI upped Delgado’s total to an AL-best 130.

“I think it’s just cool being mentioned with the Ichiros and the Garret Andersons and guys like that who put up numbers over the last few years,” Wells said. “I take more pride in that than the individual numbers.”

Making his 300th career appearance and 100th start, Escobar (12-9) allowed two runs and three hits over seven innings. He is 10-2 against the Orioles, including 3-1 this season.

“His stuff was filthy,” Tosca said. “He walked to me the other day and said he was going to have a good game.”

Maybe because he saw the opposition was the Orioles.

“I had my first shutout here, I had my first complete game here,” Escobar said. “I like to pitch here.”

Aquilino Lopez allowed one hit in two innings for his 12th save.

Reed Johnson led off the Toronto eighth with a single off Hector Carrasco (2-5), extending his hitting streak to 16 — a record for a Blue Jays rookie. Wells singled with one out and Delgado greeted B.J. Ryan with a single to make it 3-2. Josh Phelps followed with an RBI single, and Eric Hinske added a sacrifice fly.

Baltimore’s Omar Daal gave up two runs and six hits over four-plus innings in his first start since June 23. He left trailing 2-0, but the Orioles took him off the hook, enabling him to avoid his 12th loss.

“I thought he threw well for all the time’s he’s had off,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

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