BALTIMORE — J.P. Arencibia broke open a tight game with a seventh-inning grand slam, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 9-5 Monday night to earn a doubleheader split and drop the Orioles 1½ games out of first place in the AL East.
In the opener, Adam Jones went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs to lead Baltimore to a 4-1 victory. But the Orioles lost a half-game in the standings Monday to the New York Yankees, who won 6-3 at Minnesota.
The Orioles fell behind 4-0 in the nightcap and missed several bases-loaded chances to take the lead before Arencibia connected off Jake Arrieta to give Toronto a 9-4 cushion.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 41st home run for the Blue Jays, who snapped a seven-game skid. Arencibia, who came into the game mired in a 2-for-36 slump, finished with three hits and five RBIs.
Ricky Romero (9-14) allowed four runs, eight hits, four walks and a homer in five-plus innings. But a strong performance by the Toronto bullpen enabled the left-hander to end a 13-game losing streak over 15 starts since June 22.
Encarnacion put the Blue Jays up 2-0 against Wei-Yin Chen (12-10) with a two-run drive in the first inning. In the second, Arencibia hit a sacrifice fly and Anthony Gose added an RBI single.
Robert Andino singled in two runs in the bottom half, but Baltimore left the bases loaded. Nate McLouth hit an opposite-field drive to left in the fifth to get Baltimore to 4-3, but the Orioles again left the bases full.
After Moises Sierra homered for Toronto in the sixth, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in their half, bringing many in the crowd of 31,015 to their feet. Brad Lincoln replaced Romero and gave up a first-pitch RBI single to J.J. Hardy before striking out Jones. Chris Davis followed with a fly ball to Gose in left field, and Taylor Teagarden was thrown out at the plate after tagging up.
Baltimore also loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but scored only once on a double-play grounder.
In the first game, Orioles rookie Steve Johnson (4-0) allowed three hits over five shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.62. Half his big league wins have come against Toronto.
Although the Blue Jays got two runners on base in three of the first four innings, Johnson worked out of trouble on each occasion.
Jim Johnson, the fifth Baltimore pitcher, worked the ninth for his major league-best 48th save in 51 opportunities.
Jones’ four hits tied a career high. Now in his seventh season, Jones has already set career highs with 32 homers and 101 runs, and the All-Star center fielder needs only three RBIs to eclipse his previous high of 83, set last year.
Jones added a single and a double in the nightcap and has hit safely in 19 of 23 games in September, with six home runs and 13 RBIs.
“Adam relishes competition,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s obviously had a heck of a year. He’s turning into quite a player.”
Henderson Alvarez (9-14) gave up four runs, eight hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings. He is 2-7 in his last 10 starts.
In the fourth, Davis walked and Jones followed with a drive to left to put Baltimore up 2-0. Ryan Flaherty hit a solo shot in the fifth, and Jones singled in the sixth and came home on a double-play grounder.
Toronto scored in the eighth on an RBI double by Rajai Davis. With runners on second and third and two outs, Darren O’Day came in to strike out Kelly Johnson.
Mets 6, Pirates 2
NEW YORK — Ike Davis connected twice and reached a career-high 30 homers, Jenrry Mejia pitched five effective innings for his first major league win and the New York Mets beat the plummeting Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
Davis had a career-high five RBIs and David Wright had a run-scoring single to move within two hits of tying Ed Kranepool’s franchise record of 1,418 hits.
The Pirates lost for the 31st time in 43 games since improving to a season-high 16 games above .500 (63-47) on Aug. 8. They started the day 6½ games back in the wild-card race with several teams ahead of them, and now need to win six of their last nine just to finish at break even.
Nationals 12, Brewers 2
WASHINGTON — This time, the “sun monster” helped Jayson Werth’s Washington Nationals and hurt the Milwaukee Brewers.
A day after the Nationals misplayed a pair of fly balls in the midday glare, Werth wound up with a two-out, two-run double when Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez lost a ball in the sun to spark a big fourth inning Monday, and Washington beat Milwaukee 12-2 to cut its magic number for winning the NL East to five.
The Nationals improved to a majors-best 93-60 and increased their division lead over Atlanta to five games with nine to play.
Marco Estrada (4-7) lasted only four innings for the Brewers, who entered the day 2½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s second wild-card berth.
Yankees 6, Twins 3
MINNEAPOLIS — Andy Pettitte turned in another ageless performance by pitching six scoreless innings and the New York Yankees hit four home runs to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-3 Monday night and extend their AL East lead.
The Yankees took a 1½-game edge over Baltimore, which split a doubleheader with Toronto. This is the first time since Sept. 2 their margin has been more than one game.
Curtis Granderson hit his 40th home run and Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez also homered as New York won for the 10th time in 12 games.
Pettitte (5-3) hasn’t given up a run in 11 innings since rejoining the rotation last week.
Swisher’s two-out, two-run shot in the first inning off Liam Hendriks (1-8) made it 3-0.
Rangers 5, Athletics 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre singled home the winning run in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers rallied past Oakland, stretching their AL West lead over the Athletics to five games with nine to play.
The Athletics’ lead for the second AL wild-card slot was cut to two games over the idle Los Angeles Angels. Oakland has lost six of seven.
Beltre, whose 35th homer tied the score in the seventh, grounded a sharp single through the middle of the infield off Tyson Ross (2-11) in the ninth, bringing home pinch-runner Craig Gentry.
The Rangers got the inning started with consecutive singles by Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler before Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice bunt. Josh Hamilton, who had already hit his major league-best 43rd homer after missing the previous five games with a cornea issue, was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Joe Nathan (3-4) got the win.
White Sox 5, Indians 4
CHICAGO — Adam Dunn homered twice, including a clutch three-run shot in the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat Cleveland to maintain their one-game lead in the AL Central.
Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak and stayed in front of second-place Detroit, which beat Kansas City 6-2. The top two teams in the division each have nine games left.
Dunn drove an 0-2 pitch from Vinnie Pestano (3-3) over the wall in right-center with runners on the corners and two outs, putting Chicago ahead 5-3. Kevin Youkilis kept the inning alive with an infield single before Dunn connected for his 41st homer of the season. Dunn also went deep in the sixth.
Brett Myers (3-3) pitched the eighth for the win. Donnie Veal converted his first save opportunity of the season.
Tigers 6, Royals 2
DETROIT — Justin Verlander breezed through eight innings and Prince Fielder hit a solo homer, helping the Detroit Tigers steady themselves with a win over Kansas City.
The Tigers remained one game behind Chicago in the AL Central.
Verlander (16-8) had little trouble with the Royals, who knocked him around for eight runs and 12 hits last month. He allowed two runs and nine hits this time, striking out eight without a walk.
Luke Hochevar (8-15) yielded six runs and 12 hits in 7 1-3 innings.
Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2
DENVER — Tyler Chatwood pitched effectively into the sixth inning, Andrew Brown homered and the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Monday night to end a nine-game losing streak.
Jason Kubel homered for the Diamondbacks, who have slim hopes of a late-season playoff push. Arizona fell 5½ games behind St. Louis with nine remaining in the race for the second NL wild card.
Tyler Colvin and Charlie Blackmon had two hits each for Colorado. Rafael Betancourt worked the ninth for his 30th save.
For one night, at least, the Rockies (59-94) avoided tying the franchise record for losses in a season with a solid performance from Chatwood. Colorado’s pitchers had allowed 33 runs on 48 hits through the first three games of this series before holding the Diamondbacks to five hits Monday.