BALTIMORE –- Miguel Gonzalez is at his best when pitching against the Toronto Blue Jays. After allowing just an unearned run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings, Gonzalez is 5-0 with an 0.98 ERA in his last six starts when facing the Blue Jays.
Gonzalez’s superb outing gave the Orioles a 6-1 win over Toronto before 24,654 on Wednesday night.
It was just the Orioles’ third win in in nine games over the Blue Jays (17-18) this season.
For seven innings it appeared that Gonzalez (4-2), who threw the last complete game for the Orioles (15-17) on Sept. 3, 2014, would thrown another. In one stretch, he retired 13 straight.
“Miggy doesn't shy away from a big stage,” manager Buck Showalter said. You go through your career and you've had a lot of people tell you you couldn't do something, he doesn't take a pitch for granted up here."
In their first 32 games, the Orioles played 29 against American League East opponents. Next comes a stretch where they’ll play out of their division in 21 of 24.
“Nobody is going to or will relax. You’ve seen the schedule. You’ve just seen people you’re going to face it seems, half the season,” Showalter said.
The Orioles scored five in the second. Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy led off with walks off Aaron Sanchez. David Lough bunted them along, and both scored on Caleb Joseph’s double over third base.
Manny Machado’s double drove in Joseph, and Alejandro De Aza’s double scored Machado. After Sanchez (3-3) threw a wild pitch, De Aza scored as Jimmy Paredes beat out an infield hit.
In the third, Ezequiel Carrera was hit by a pitch, and Devon Travis singled to right. De Aza’s throw sailed to third base, and Travis took second. Josh Donaldson grounded to third and Machado made a nice pickup and dove toward the bag and tagged a leaning Carrera.
Machado, who declared “that wasn’t us,” after watching his team commit three errors on Tuesday night, ended the third by starting a 5-4-3 double play.
The snappy defense continued in the fourth when De Aza made a nice running catch on Edwin Encarnacion’s drive in right and Navarro snared Russell Martin’s liner.
“It's more what we're capable of. It was a good defensive night,” Showalter said.
Donaldson was the final Blue Jays baserunner until Kevin Pillar walked in the eighth. Ryan Goins singled, and after Danny Valencia struck out, Travis flied to right. Gonzalez walked Donaldson, and as the ball got away from Joseph for this second passed ball in as many nights, Pillar scored.
Gonzalez allowed five runs in four innings against the Yankees six days ago.
“My last outing wasn't the greatest, but this time around, I worked well and I worked hard and it paid off,” Gonzalez said.
Darren O’Day who has a running feud with Jose Bautista got him to tap out to the box, ending the inning. They ignored each other they left the field. O’Day picked up the save.
Rey Navarro homered to start the eighth, his first career homer.
“I just feel like it was something out of this world. That’s the dream coming true. Playing in the big leagues and then you hit your first career home run. It was great,” Navarro said.
Navarro, who was recalled on Tuesday when Ryan Flaherty was put on the disabled list, got his first postgame pie from Adam Jones.
“Yeah, it was a good one. And it tastes great,” Navarro said.
The Orioles get Thursday off and get to see their first AL West opponents of the season, the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
After two weeks of tumult and travel, Showalter thinks things are returning to what passes for normal.
“It was good to win a series in our first series at home after being gone forever, it seems like. Take a day tomorrow and start up against the Angels,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Hunter Harvey, the Orioles first round draft pick in 2013, had an MRI on his right elbow Wednesday.”It was pretty good news, all things considered, I thought. I know they're going to take some time off and we'll see if he wants to get a second opinion,” Showalter said. “He's not going to be throwing for a little while. He's going to take some time, but don't feel like there's anything else but rest prescribed at this point."
Showalter said Harvey is expected to pitch this season.
"There's nothing that we feel like requires surgery,” Showalter said.
Matt Wieters will catch nine innings in an extended spring game on Thursday. … Paredes has a 12-game hitting streak and Machado a 19-game on-base streak. … The Orioles had a season-high five doubles. … On Friday. Jered Weaver (1-4, 4.98) faces Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 2.52).