Tor 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Bal 3 1 0 0 0 0 3 1 X 8
Date of game: 9/16/2014

Recap: Baltimore vs. Toronto

Baltimore, MD ( - It took 17 years, but the Baltimore Orioles are finally back on top of the American League East.

Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes each homered to help the Orioles defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-2, and clinch the AL East division title on Tuesday for the first time since 1997.

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9) survived a rocky start to go five innings and allow two runs on two hits and four walks with six strikeouts.

Alejandro De Aza supplied a clutch three-run triple that broke the game open in the seventh for Baltimore, which last clinched the division crown at home on Sept. 22, 1979 courtesy of a loss by Milwaukee. You would have to go back even further, to Sept. 13, 1969, to find the last time the O's clinched with a win on their home turf.

"It's a great feeling," De Aza said. "I can't describe it right now."

Drew Hutchison (10-12) lasted 6 1/3 innings, yielding six runs on five hits while striking out a career-high 11 in the setback.

Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Reyes each knocked in a run for the Blue Jays, who have lost three straight and four of five as they continue to fade down the stretch.

With fans packing Camden Yards eager for a celebration, it was Toronto which struck first.

Jose Bautista walked with one out in the opening frame and hustled home on Encarnacion's double to left to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 edge. Jimenez didn't let the double affect him, though, striking out both Adam Lind and Dioner Navarro to end the frame.

Baltimore responded in the home half. Nelson Cruz singled to the opposite field with two outs to put a pair of runners on before Pearce clubbed his 18th homer of the season for a 3-1 lead after one.

"He left something out over the plate and I was able to get extended," said Pearce of the home run. "It's not over yet. We're going to the playoffs. What more can you ask for?"

Reyes delivered an RBI single in the second to cut the deficit in half. Jimenez walked Bautista, his third free pass of the inning, to load the bases a batter later, but the erratic right-hander got Encarnacion on a grounder to third for the final out.

Much like the first inning, Baltimore answered as Paredes led off the home second by lifting a fly over the wall in left for his second round-tripper of the season. Two batters later, Nick Hundley drove a Hutchison offering to deep center, where Anthony Gose leapt up at the wall to snare the possible home run.

Jimenez settled in after the second, retiring 10 consecutive hitters before T.J. McFarland took over for him in the sixth. McFarland worked around a leadoff double by Navarro to keep the two-run lead intact.

Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh before the hosts added some insurance in the home half. Paredes singled to a sharp grounder to second, Ryan Flaherty reached on a throwing error and Aaron Loup plunked Nick Markakis to load the bases with one out. De Aza proceeded to line a Loup offering down the left- field line that cleared the bases and stretched the margin to 7-2.

Hundley poked a sacrifice fly to left in the eighth give Baltimore its six-run margin.

Tommy Hunter came on in the ninth to set the Jays down and clinch the team's ninth AL East crown in franchise history.

Game Notes

Orioles manager Buck Showalter passed Billy Martin for 36th place on the all- time managerial wins list with his 1,254th victory ... Baltimore is 9-6 against Toronto this season ... The O's have won nine of their last 10 overall and are 12-4 in the month of September.

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