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BALTIMORE — The Toronto Blue Jays extended the celebration of their first AL East title in 22 years, resting their starters Thursday in a rain-marred 6-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Manny Machado homered twice for the Orioles, who took a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Drew Hutchison (13-5) before the game was delayed for 3 hours, 25 minutes.

Although the Blue Jays are still dueling with Kansas City for the best record in the AL — a distinction that provides home-field advantage through the post-season — Toronto manager John Gibbons has placed a priority on keeping his players fresh.

Blue Jays ace David Price was scratched from his scheduled start. Slugging stars Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion also sat out.

After Toronto clinched the division crown in the opener of a doubleheader Wednesday, Gibbons fielded a starting unit consisting entirely of reserves in the nightcap. He posted a similar lineup Thursday, in part because the Blue Jays had celebrated their division crown with champagne, beer and cigars late into the night.

The Blue Jays started the day with 92 wins, one more than Kansas City. Toronto finishes with three games at Tampa Bay, beginning Friday.

Thursday’s game was originally slated to start at 7:05 p.m. but was moved up to 12:05 because of the threat of rain at night. As it turned out, the rain started early in the day and didn’t let up until around 4 o’clock.

Attendance was announced at 18,257, but that was tickets sold. At the outset, there was only a smattering of fans, mostly because of the dismal weather, the switch of the starting time and the Orioles’ late-season fade.

After the lengthy delay, only a few hundred remained.

It became apparent early that the Blue Jays were going to experience a figurative hangover from their big day. Hutchison gave up a one-out single in the first inning and Machado followed with a home run to centre.

Chris Davis and Steve Pearce then sandwiched doubles around a hit batter for a 3-0 lead.

Not long after that, the game was halted. Neither starting pitcher returned.

Todd McFarland (1-2) took over for Tyler Wright and pitched four innings to earn his first win since July 27, 2014.

Zach Britton worked the ninth for his 35th save.

It was 5-1 before Machado hit a solo shot in the sixth off Chad Jenkins. Machado also stole two bases, giving him 33 homers and 20 steals and making him the seventh 20/20 player in Orioles history.

Ezequiel Carrera drove in two runs and Dalton Pompey had three hits for the Blue Jays, who won the season series 11-8.


Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (shoulder, back) could return this weekend.

Orioles: 2B Jonathan Schoop bruised his right hand after being struck by a pitch from Hutchison.


Blue Jays: Toronto needs to win two of three in Tampa Bay to finish with a winning record on the road.

Orioles: The Orioles finish the season with a three-game series at home against the Yankees beginning Friday night, although Hurricane Joaquin could shuffle that schedule.

David Ginsburg, The Associated Press

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