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Morales' 3 HRs, 7 RBIs carry Blue Jays past Orioles 11-8

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USA TODAY Sports

Morales' 3 HRs, 7 RBIs carry Blue Jays past Orioles 11-8

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles' seven-game winning streak ended under a barrage of home runs by Kendrys Morales, who went deep three times and had a career-high seven RBIs to provide the Toronto Blue Jays with an 11-8 victory Thursday night.

Looking to sustain its charge into the thick of the AL playoff picture, Baltimore bolted to a 5-2 lead in the third inning before the last-place Blue Jays stormed back behind Morales, who had four hits and scored four runs.

Morales hit a two-run homer in the third, an RBI single in a five-run fifth, added a three-run drive in the sixth and concluded his big night with a solo shot in the eighth.

It was his second career three-homer game. The first was Sept. 20, 2015, at Detroit.

Adam Jones and Chris Davis homered for the Orioles, who fell 2 games back in the race for the final AL wild card. Coming off three-game sweeps of Boston and Seattle, Baltimore was seeking its first eight-game winning streak in 12 years.

Instead, the Orioles were victimized by a Toronto team that had lost 10 of 12, including four in a row, and had totaled one run in its previous two games.

Baltimore starter Jeremy Hellickson (2-3) allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Marco Estrada (7-8) improved to 6-1 lifetime against Baltimore despite allowing six runs and 10 hits in five ragged innings.

Roberto Osuna retired Jones on a groundout with two runs in, two on and two outs in the eighth. The right-hander also worked the ninth for his 35th save.

Jones hit his 26th home run in the first inning with a man on, and Tim Beckham hit an RBI single in the second for a 3-0 lead.

Morales answered in the third, but Baltimore got a run-scoring groundout from Davis and an RBI single by Mark Trumbo in the bottom half.

The momentum turned in the fifth, when Toronto sent nine batters and used two-run doubles by Miguel Montero and Kevin Pillar to go up 7-5.

Davis hit a solo shot in the bottom half, but Morales expanded the margin to five runs by connecting off Mychal Givens in the sixth and again in the eighth.

HOT IN AUGUST

The Orioles set a major league record with 57 home runs in August. They broke the mark set by last year's club, which hit 55 in August.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: 1B Justin Smoak (sore right calf) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive night. Manager John Gibbons was hopeful Smoak would return Friday. Smoak, who is hitting .287 with team highs in home runs (36) and RBIs (84), missed only one of Toronto's 132 games prior to Wednesday.

Orioles: The team has delayed making a decision about when to activate SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) from the disabled list, though it probably won't be later than Monday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini (3-9, 5.40 ERA) starts the second game of the series Friday night. Biagini is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five appearances (one start) against Baltimore this season.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (10-9, 4.98 ERA) makes his fifth start against Toronto this season. Baltimore won each of his previous four starts.

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0