From Comcast SportsNetBALTIMORE (AP) -- After losing two straight games to Toronto, the Baltimore Orioles broke out the big bats.The Orioles tied a team record by with seven home runs to rout the Blue Jays 12-2 and stay within 1 games of the AL East lead.Chris Davis and Manny Machado each connected twice and the Orioles remained close to the division-leading New York Yankees, who won 8-2 in Minnesota.Nate McLouth hit a leadoff shot in the first inning and Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds also homered. Baltimore has hit seven home runs three times, most recently on Aug. 26, 1985."Home runs are very unique, and when you do what we did tonight, it's something to be proud of. It's something that doesn't happen a whole lot in the game," Thome said.Thome's home run was the 612th of his career and the first he's hit at home for the Orioles."Up and down the lineup, everyone swung the bat well. It's been fun," Thome said.Davis finished with a career-high five RBIs to help the Orioles split a four-game series with the last-place Blue Jays."This was a tough series. It was one of those ones that you don't want to see at the end of the season coming in off a long road trip," Davis said."I think if you'd have told us a few months ago that we'd be a game-and-a-half out with six games left, I think you'd be pretty happy with that."Beginning Friday, the Orioles have three games with Boston at home and three at Tampa Bay."We just got through playing Boston and we played them well. Obviously, the three in Tampa are going to be tough, but we're at a point where we still have a chance, so that's all you can ask for," Davis said.The Orioles trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth before hitting three home runs.Thome led off with his third homer since joining the Orioles. With two outs, Machado hit his fifth of the year for a 3-2 Baltimore lead. All of Machado's home runs have come at home, and his drive was the Orioles' 200th homer of the year.Davis' three-run drive gave the Orioles a five-run inning and finished Carlos Villanueva (7-7).Villanueva equaled a career high by giving up four home runs."Those mistakes I made, they hit them with authority. They put the power stroke on them and made me pay for them," Villanueva said.Machado and Thome are the first AL teammates to hit home runs in the same inning with an age difference of more than 20 years, according to home run historian David Vincent.Thome is 42 and Machado is 20 -- Thome's major league career began 10 months before Machado was born."That's crazy," Machado said. "It's a pretty good stat. I remember when I used to watch (Thome) play when I was a little kid. Now to hit a home run in the same inning he did, just feels great."Davis hit his second home run in the seventh. On Aug. 24, he hit three home runs against the Blue Jays, also in a game started by Villanueva. He has 28 home runs.Reynolds hit his 23rd homer in the sixth and Machado added a two-run shot in the eighth.Miguel Gonzalez (8-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. He allowed Edwin Encarnacion's 42nd home run with two outs in the top of the first.With one out in the fifth, J.P. Arencibia, who went 7 for 9 in the four-game series, doubled and scored on Anthony Gose's single.NOTES:Orioles LHP Randy Wolf was put on the 60-day disabled list with a torn ligament in his left elbow. Baltimore purchased the contract of INF-OF Bill Hall from Triple-A Norfolk. Hall will provide outfield help while Lew Ford is out with a groin injury. ... Deion Sanders, in town for Thursday's NFL Network game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, took batting practice with the Orioles before the game. Sanders, who played nine years in the majors, was an outfielder for Baltimore manager Buck Showalter in the minors while in the Yankees' organization. ... The Orioles are off Thursday and begin a three-game series with Boston on Friday. Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.08 ERA) faces Red Sox RHP Aaron Cook (4-10, 5.13). ... On Thursday, Toronto hosts New York to begin a four-game series. Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow (8-7, 3.28) faces Yankees RHP Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.94).
Postgame analysis of the Nats' 3-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night at Nationals Park.
How it happened: The Nationals will be starting Gio Gonzalez in the NL Division Series against the Dodgers whether it's their preference or not. That's not to say they aren't at all comfortable with having him on the mound in the playoffs. He's been there before and happens to have plenty of recent success against the very team he'll face.
It's just that with Stephen Strasburg injured and Joe Ross not yet stretched out since returning from the disabled list, Gonzalez is essentially their third starter by default. And with how inconsistent he's been lately, that produce an interesting dynamic in the postseason. It's Gio Gonzalez roulette: who will take the ball and stare down Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez, Good Gio or Bad Gio?
The latter was on display Wednesday night in the Nats' 3-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a game shortened to 6 1/3 innings by unrelenting rain. He managed just 3 2/3 innings on 100 pitches. That's not an MLB record for pitches in such a short start, but it's not far off. Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia, for instance, threw 107 pitches in 3 2/3 just five years ago.
Gonzalez' latest outing may not go down in the annals of history, but it was a troubling sight for the Nationals. The next time he will pitch is against the Dodgers, either in L.A. or Washington. And given the nature of a five-game series, their season could be on the line.
Gonzalez needed 24 pitches to get out of the first inning and was fortunate to give up just one run in the frame, that on a groundout by Paul Goldschmidt. Gonzalez needed 24 more in the second after giving up a single and a walk, but no runs.
He threw 29 more in the third, including an RBI double to Brandon Drury. In the fourth, he tossed 23 more pitches and was pulled after Goldschmidt landed an RBI single, Gonzalez' third run of the evening.
Gonzalez has been bounced after 4 1/3 innings or less in four of his last nine starts. In his last five outings, he's surrendered 19 earned runs in 23 innings. He's trending in the wrong direction after a strong July and August, and it's not good for the Nats.
Gonzalez didn't go deep in his start, but he wasn't necessarily terrible either. The Nats' offense fell closer to that description. They managed zero runs on five hits and one walk against Arizona starter Shelby Miller. His 6.15 ERA through 20 starts this season makes his 2015 All-Star nod seem like a distant memory.
The Nationals lost their second game of this series against the Diamondbacks and will now hope for a four-game split on Thursday. Washington has dropped seven of their last 11 games.
What it means: The Nationals fell to 92-65 not the year with four games remaining. Their magic number to clinch home field advantage in the NLDS stands at four.
Rendon lands two: Anthony Rendon was once again a standout for the Nats on offense with a pair of singles in two plate appearances. That came one night after he led the Nats to victory with a three-run homer. Rendon now has six hits in his last five games and appears to be heating up as the Nats enter the final four games of the regular season. With Wilson Ramos out, Rendon is even more important as one of the Nationals' most potent right-handed bats.
Belisle keeps it up: He may not pitch in high-leverage spots, and he may not bring electric stuff out of the bullpen, but veteran Matt Belisle just continues to produce in whatever role the Nats ask of him. He replaced Gonzalez in the fourth inning on Wednesday and tossed 1 1/3 perfect frames. He got four outs on seven pitches, a nice change of pace from the 100 pitches Gonzalez needed to record 11 outs. Belisle was even checked on by trainer Paul Lessard before he began the fifth inning, but he didn't show any problems afterwards.
Gio playing with a heavy heart: Gonzalez was pitching with a lot on his mind Wednesday night following the death of his friend Jose Fernandez over the weekend. Gonzalez was in tears while warming up in right field before the game and plans to fly to Florida in the morning to attend the funeral services of the late Marlins star.
Up next: The Nats and Diamondbacks finish of their series with a 1:05 p.m. start on Thursday afternoon. Joe Ross (7-5, 3.48) will pitch opposite former Nats prospect Robbie Ray (8-14, 4.77).
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When the Nationals clinched the AL East, you might have noticed Bryce Harper sporting a swim cap as he and his teammates celebrated with the traditional champagne spraying.
He got the swim cap from none other than Olympic gold medalist and Bethesda native Katie Ledecky… but how exactly did he acquire it from her?
Remember when she threw out the first pitch at the Nationals game while Harper held all of her medals? Ledecky sent Harper a thank you note for doing that, along with one of her swim caps.
“I told him that maybe [the swim cap] could help him contain his hair as he was rounding third base,” Ledecky joked in a Twitter video posted by Stephen Whyno during Wednesday night’s Team USA Awards.
Harper might not have used the cap for that, but we’re pretty sure Ledecky approves of how Harper used the cap anyway.