O’s AL East title chances take a hit with 4-0 loss to Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are taking a page out of the Orioles’ book from last September and trying to play the role of spoiler. But it’s the Orioles’ party they are trying to throw cold water on.

Toronto beat the Orioles 4-0 tonight to put a dent into the O’s AL East title hopes. The Orioles fall to 88-67 on the year and were shutout for the ninth time.

The Orioles began the day 1 1/2 games behind New York for the division lead and 1 1/2 games ahead of Oakland for the AL’s top wild spot.

Lefty Aaron Laffey, from Allegany High in Cumberland, Maryland, held the O’s off the board for the first 5 2/3 innings, improving to 4-6 with an ERA of 4.52. He gave up five hits, all singles and didn’t issue a walk or a strikeout.

Yan Gomes’ two-out RBI single in the first inning gave the Jays a 1-0 lead on Joe Saunders. They made it 2-0 on Adeiny Hechavarria’s double in the fourth inning and 4-0 on RBI singles by Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion in the seventh.

Saunders took the loss, falling to 2-3 with an ERA of 3.62. He gave up 11 hits and four runs (three earned) over 6 1/3. He had pitched to an ERA of 2.10 over his previous four starts.

Dylan Bundy pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, making his Orioles home debut. He gave up a walk and single to start the inning, then got a fly out and double play grounder. He has now pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings over his first two appearances.

But despite losing nine of its last 12 games, 12 of the last 16 series and 13 of 19 games against the AL East, Toronto knocked off the Orioles tonight, putting a damper on the O’s AL East title hopes.

The Orioles have one more game left in this series and seven left in the 2012 regular season.

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