Hardy and Roberts make sure the homers keep coming (O’s win 3-1)

The Orioles have hit three home runs tonight, which is pretty much the norm these days.

No small ball. Not a lot of production with runners in scoring position. Just aim for the seats.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy led off the bottom of the fifth inning with his 25th home run to break a 1-1 tie, and Brian Roberts added a solo shot with two outs.

All 10 runs scored by the Orioles in the last three games have come via the long ball, and their last 14 runs overall. During their nine-game road trip, homers accounted for 21 of their 34 runs.

The Orioles lead the majors with 188 home runs. The Blue Jays were second with 164 before tonight.

Hardy is the fourth active player and ninth since 1901 to record three or more seasons of 25-plus home runs as a shortstop, joining Alex Rodriguez (seven), Miguel Tejada (six) and Troy Tulowitzki (three). The five retired shortstops since 1901 are Cal Ripken, Jr. (eight), Ernie Banks (seven), Nomar Garciaparra (four), Jose Valentin (three) and Vern Stephens (three).

Hardy is the third Orioles shortstop with three consecutive 20-plus homer seasons, joining Tejada (2004-06) and Ripken (10 straight from 1982-91).

Hardy’s 77 home runs and .989 fielding percentage since the start of 2011 are tops among major league shortstops.

Miguel Gonzalez has retired 11 of the last 13 batters as we head to the bottom of the sixth with the Orioles leading 3-1. Gonzalez has allowed four hits, walked one and struck out six, including Adam Dunn looking to end the top of the sixth.

Gonzalez has thrown 88 pitches, 58 for strikes.

In his last start, Gonzalez permitted seven runs and six hits in four innings in New York, with three walks and no strikeouts.

Update: Gonzalez turned in one of his finest outings, allowing one run and four hits over seven innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. He threw 100 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Tommy Hunter will pitch the eighth. Nick Markakis has replaced Michael Morse in right field.

Tough night for Morse. Two strikeouts and a double play.

Gonzalez had a career 4.66 ERA on four days rest and a 2.72 ERA on five days. He was working on five days tonight.

Update II: Game over. Miguel Gonzalez turned in his 16th quality start and the Orioles began their homestand with a 3-1 win over the White Sox.

Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing one hit, and Jim Johnson retired the side in order in the ninth - striking out two - to record his 42nd save.

The Orioles improve to 16-7 in two-run games. They’re 62-7 when leading after the seventh and 65-9 when leading after the eighth. They’re 61-49 when they homer.

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