O’s club Jays

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BALTIMORE – Kris Benson took a shutout into the seventh inning, and the Baltimore Orioles’ struggling bullpen preserved the lead in a 9-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jay Gibbons, Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez homered, and Melvin Mora had three hits and two RBIs for the Orioles, who earned a split of the two-game series.

Benson (4-2) allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. It was the right-hander’s second win over Toronto in six days.

The Orioles’ bullpen started the day with an AL-worst 6.47 ERA, but on this night the relievers were effective enough to make Benson’s fine effort stand up. Todd Williams, the fourth Baltimore pitcher, got the final five outs for his first save.

Tejada and Hernandez both hit two-run homers off Vinnie Chulk in a four-run eighth that enabled the Orioles to pull away.

Vernon Wells went 0-for-3 with a walk for Toronto, ending his 11-game hitting streak. It was only the second game this season in which he did not get a hit, although the walk enabled him to extend his run of reaching base in all 24 games.

Blue Jays starter Casey Janssen (0-2) gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. It was his second start in the majors: He lost to Benson and the Orioles in his debut on April 27.

Down 5-0, Toronto sent eight batters to the plate in the seventh but scored only twice. After Shea Hillenbrand hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out pinch-hit single by Eric Henske, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo replaced Benson with Julio Manon, recalled from Triple-A Ottawa earlier Tuesday.

Alex Rios tripled in a run and Manon walked two straight batters to load the bases. Sendy Rleal then came in to face Troy Glaus, who lined out to left.

Rleal got the first out in the eighth before Williams entered. He allowed two hits in 1 2-3 innings.

The Orioles went up 3-0 in the third. Nick Markakis doubled and Janssen hit Chris Gomez with a pitch before Mora lined a two-run double into the left-field corner. Tejada followed with an RBI single.

Benson gave up two hits in the second inning but was aided by a double play. He retired 10 straight batters, including seven in a row on fly balls, before running into trouble in the sixth.

Rios doubled with one out and Frank Catalanotto walked to bring up Wells, who hit a fly ball to right. After Glaus drew a walk to load the bases, Benson retired Lyle Overbay on a deep fly to center.

Gibbons made it 5-0 in the bottom half, driving a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats after Tejada hit a one-out single.

Notes: Tejada has at least one hit in 24 of 28 games this season. … Toronto LHP Scott Downs, reinstated from bereavement leave before the game, pitched a scoreless seventh.

AP-ES-05-02-06 2151EDT

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