You can end people's careers or lives when you throw up around the shoulders. I don't blame Jeff (Conine) for thinking what he thought. ”
— Orioles manager Mike Hargrove
Jeff Conine and Tony Batista homered as the Orioles ended an eight-game losing streak to the Toronto Blue Jays with a 6-4 victory Tuesday night.Conine hit a two-run homer off Escobar (5-4) in the fourth to cut Baltimore's deficit to 3-2.Escobar hit Conine on the left shoulder with a fastball in the sixth. Conine glared at Escobar as he walked to first base, and plate umpire Ed Rapuano warned both dugouts."It got everybody's blood going pretty good," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "Up until then, Escobar threw the ball extremely well."Jay Gibbons followed with a two-run double past first baseman Carlos Delgado, giving Baltimore a 4-3 lead. Batista then chased Escobar with a two-run homer.Hargrove didn't think Escobar plunked Conine on purpose, but did say he thought the pitcher threw at Gibbons last week."You can end people's careers or lives when you throw up around the shoulders," Hargrove said. "I don't blame Jeff for thinking what he thought."Conine said Escobar's pitch was "suspicious.""The guy is throwing 96 mph, and if that was another six inches up, that would have been in the back of the head," Conine said. "It's a scary thing when you've got a ball coming at you that fast. Luckily, I ducked out of the way."Escobar, who dropped to 8-2 career against Baltimore, allowed six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. His eight wins and nine saves lifetime against the Orioles are his most against any opponent.Escobar said the Orioles were yelling at him after he hit Conine."I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I knew they were mad," said Escobar, who denied he lost his focus after that.He said he didn't hit Conine intentionally, but he wasn't surprised the Orioles thought he did."Last year in Baltimore, they hit four guys and we didn't hit anybody. They might have felt that I hit him on purpose," Escobar said.Delgado hit his AL-leading 23rd homer in the ninth inning for the Blue Jays. He leads the majors with 81 RBI -- the most ever by a Toronto player before the All-Star breakBaltimore starter Rick Helling (5-5) allowed three runs on six hits, striking out two and walking a season-high five in 5 2/3 innings.B.J. Ryan, Buddy Groom, Kerry Ligtenberg and Jorge Julio followed with 3 1/3 innings of one-run relief. Julio pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 20 chances, allowing Delgado's homer.Baltimore lost 12 of its previous 13 games against Toronto. The Blue Jays went 15-4 against the Orioles last season.Orlando Hudson hit a two-run triple for the Blue Jays, who fell two games back of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.Toronto's Reed Johnson bunted for an RBI single in the third. Hudson's triple into the gap in right-center in the third set off fireworks. The person who controls the fireworks
mistakenly thought it was a home run, and the fireworks exploded as Hudson rounded second.After Escobar walked B.J. Surhoff in the fourth, Conine hit the first pitch for his ninth home run.
Baltimore's Melvin Mora, the AL's leading hitter, missed his fourth straight game since being hit by a pitch on his right hand Friday night. Hargrove said Mora would return Wednesday. ... Toronto manager Carlos Tosca gave DH Josh Phelps a day off so Johnson could play. ... Escobar went 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA over his previous three starts. ... Escobar didn't allow a home run in his first 45 innings as a starter this season. ... Batista also homered Monday night and has 13 this year. ... Joe Carter had 80 RBI before the All-Star break for Toronto in 1994, and Delgado had 80 in 2000.