TORONTO — For one night, the Orioles got real comfortable in what has been their own house of horrors, turning the series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays into a glorified round of batting practice.
On the other end of so many beating at the Rogers Centre, the Orioles delivered one of their own, pounding out four home runs and a season-high eight extra-base hits en route to a 12-4 rout Tuesday in front of an announced 17,477.
The Orioles' fourth victory in Toronto in the past 29 games was all but secured by the middle innings when the visitors scored two runs in both the second and third innings, and then three runs in the both the fourth and fifth innings.
It marked a season-high in runs and the first time that they have scored double-digit runs in Toronto since April 22, 2005, a span of 58 games.
The Orioles, who won their second consecutive game at the Rogers Centre after dropping 16 straight, finished with 16 hits. Every Oriole had at least one hit, and all nine starters reached base twice except for designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, who returned from the disabled list with one hit in five at-bats.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy hit two home runs — both off Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow — and drove in four. First baseman Derek Lee went 4-for-5 with a double and a homer and had a season-high five RBIs. Left fielder Nolan Reimold went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs.
The offensive outburst came on a night when starter Jake Arrieta struggled to get through five innings, allowing four earned on five hits and two walks. He exited the game after getting nailed in the right foot by Edwin Encarnacion's comebacker. The ball bounced to Lee at first base for the final out of the inning.
X-rays taken on Arrieta were negative and he was diagnosed with a right foot contusion. The victory was his 10th of the season and his first since June 20. He had failed in four previous tries to get his 10th victory.
Jason Berken relieved him and pitched three scoreless innings, and then Mark Hendrickson finished matters with a scoreless ninth.
When Morrow is on — and he has been lately with a five-decision winning streak entering tonight's series opener — he is one of the toughest right-handers in the league. He has held opponents to one run or fewer in six of his 17 starts and three runs or less in 12 of those 17.
He also has struck out five batters or more in all but one of his outings. It was easy to imagine another dominant night when he pitched a perfect first inning and struck out two.
But Guerrero and Matt Wieters led off the second with sharp singles and then Lee brought them both in with a double that just eluded diving Blue Jays center fielder Travis Snyder.
The Orioles tacked on two more in the third, an inning which started with Hardy driving a Morrow pitch over the left-field wall for his 15th home run. Nick Markakis drew a walk, but Morrow should have been out of the inning with no more damage after he got Wieters to ground meekly to first base.
Adam Lind flipped to Morrow, who twice tried to touch the first-base bag, but missed both times. The next batter, Lee, made him pay for that mistake with a bloop single that made it 4-0.
To that point, Arrieta had kept the Blue Jays off the scoreboard if not the base paths. In the first, Toronto had men on first and second with no outs, and Arrieta fell behind Jose Bautista, 3-1. However, he got the slugger to pop out and then he quickly retired Lind and Encarnacion to get out of the jam.
In the third inning, Arrieta's throwing error after he did well to field Yunel Escobar's swinging bunt put the leadoff man on second with no outs. Arrieta then created a scary moment when he drilled Bautista in the side of the helmet with a two-strike fastball.
Bautista stayed down for a while before ultimately getting up to his knees and then walking back to the dugout under his own power. The Blue Jays said that he is day-to-day.
As Bautista stayed on the ground, Arrieta looked on, clearly rattled. He then watched Oriole killer Lind drive a breaking ball over the left-center field wall for his 19th homer of the season. Lind's homer, which made it a 4-3 game, marked the fifth straight game against the Orioles in which he has gone deep. He has six homers during that span.
With their lead trimmed to one run, the Orioles kept pouring it on Morrow. Reimold started the fourth with a long homer to left, his sixth of the season. After a Robert Andino single, Hardy deposited another Morrow pitch over the left-field wall. It marked Hardy's first multi-homer game since July 6, 2008.
Morrow only managed to get one more out before he was removed. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, including three homers, and one walk over 3 1/3 innings.
Shawn Camp relieved Morrow and didn't fare much better. Reimold's RBI double, on a ball that was misplayed in left field by former Oriole Corey Patterson, made it an 8-4 game. Andino followed with an RBI double, and then Hardy, bidding for his third home run, settled for a long sacrifice fly and a 10-4 Orioles' advantage.