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Morales powers Blue Jays to win with 3 HRs

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' seven-game winning streak has come to an end. They have Kendrys Morales and the division-rival Blue Jays to thank for that.

Morales hit three home runs, and Josh Donaldson reached base four times in an 11-8 victory over Baltimore on Thursday night at Camden Yards. Miguel Montero and Kevin Pillar each picked up a pair of hits, and every member of the starting lineup except for infielder Darwin Barney reached base at least once.

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BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' seven-game winning streak has come to an end. They have Kendrys Morales and the division-rival Blue Jays to thank for that.

Morales hit three home runs, and Josh Donaldson reached base four times in an 11-8 victory over Baltimore on Thursday night at Camden Yards. Miguel Montero and Kevin Pillar each picked up a pair of hits, and every member of the starting lineup except for infielder Darwin Barney reached base at least once.

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The loss meant Baltimore lost a full game on the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot. Minnesota picked up a 5-4 victory over the White Sox earlier in the day, and the Orioles now find themselves 2 1/2 games back for the second Wild Card. 

"A win's a win, it wasn't necessarily a pretty thing but it was a win," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team fell behind and also allowed Baltimore to creep back into the game late. "You never feel good in this ballpark … any time a ball gets up into the air you never really know here."

Video: TOR@BAL: Blue Jays score five on single, two doubles

Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson took the loss after he allowed seven runs on seven hits and four walks. Hellickson carried a 5-2 lead into the fifth, but he could not get out of the inning as Toronto sent all nine batters to the plate and scored five runs to take a 7-5 lead. The 30-year-old has now allowed at least six runs in three of his last four outings and has just two wins since joining Baltimore prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"I made the mistake to Morales, and that was about it," Hellickson said. "Command was way off on that. Really haven't had poor command this year."

Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada picked up his seventh victory of the season despite a rough night on the mound. Estrada allowed at least one run during each of the first three innings and barely made it through five but that was still enough. He was charged with six runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out four. Estrada has three wins in his last five outings after previously going two months between victories.

Video: TOR@BAL: Davis launches a two-run homer to center

Adam Jones and Chris Davis each went deep in the losing effort for Baltimore. The Orioles hit 57 homers in August, one shy of the record 58 by the Mariners in May 1999 and the O's in May 1987. Despite the loss, the Orioles have won nine of their last 13 games vs. Toronto and have won all four series vs. the Blue Jays this season. 

"We're going to continue to play winning baseball," Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham said. "Don't be surprised to see us in the playoffs."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The trifecta: The Blue Jays and Orioles were locked into a back-and-forth affair until Morales solidified the game for Toronto with a three-run shot to right in the top of the sixth inning. According to Statcast™, Morales' 24th home run of the season was projected to travel 430 feet and left his bat at 109 mph. Morales also went deep in the top of the third inning and again in the eighth for the second three-homer game of his career. The veteran designated hitter also set a new career high with seven RBIs.

Video: TOR@BAL: Morales crushes his second homer of the game

"I haven't changed anything," said Morales, who is riding a four-game hitting streak after slumping at the plate. "I think it's going my way a little bit now. Timing is everything, and I think my timing is a little bit better now. Everything is just working better." More >

Miggy's moment: The Blue Jays entered this game with the lowest OPS (.590) from the catching position in the AL, but it was one of their backstops who delivered a big blow on Thursday night. With Toronto trailing, 5-3, in the fifth, Montero hit a bases-loaded double to the corner in right field. Two runs came around to score and two more quickly followed on a double in the very next at-bat by Pillar. 

Video: TOR@BAL: Montero evens the score with two-run double

QUOTABLE
"He had a heck of a day. He was just on, and it's good to see. We needed that. … Obviously I gave up a lot of runs so I'm glad the guys picked me up and put up a lot of runs for me. We got the win, and that's all that matters." -- Estrada, on Morales' three homer game

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Morales became the first player in Blue Jays history with at least four hits, three homers and seven RBIs in the same game.

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Right-hander Joe Biagini (3-9, 5.40) will make his second start since rejoining the Blue Jays rotation when this series continues on Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards. Biagini allowed five runs on nine hits and three walks in his last outing vs. the Twins.

Orioles: Right-hander Kevin Gausman (10-9, 4.98 ERA) aims to steer the Orioles' rotation back on track after Hellickson's lackluster showing in the series opener. Gausman is coming off an outing of 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Orioles on Thursday.