Blue Jays batter the O's

Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia lunges for the plate to score on a passed ball Friday night in...

Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia lunges for the plate to score on a passed ball Friday night in Baltimore. (Getty Images)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 AM ET

BALTIMORE - Theres something about the Orioles that continues to bring out the best in the Blue Jays.

Maybe its the beauty of Camden Yards, the sea air, the taste of the crab. Maybe its because when the Orioles meet the Jays, they simply stink.

In 2010 the Jays hammered away at Baltimore, winning 15 of 18 meetings. Coming into the game, the Jays had won 20 of the past 26.

In the first meeting of the teams in 2011, the Jays picked it up where they left off, beating the Orioles 8-4.

The knockout punch this night was supplied by rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia, who hits the first grand slam of what looks to be a long and distinguished career into the seats in left against lefty starter Zach Britton.

The home run, his ninth of the season, came on a 2-2 pitch and was about ankle high when it crossed the plate. But for Arencibia, it seemed to be sitting on a tee and he golfed it out to up the Jays lead to 7-0. The four RBIs raised his total to 30 on the season, second on the team to the 40 driven in by Jose Bautista.

It was a good pitch but I was able to hit it pretty well, Arencibia said between bites of a post-game banana. Sometimes its a pitch that I can hit pretty good, a ball down. Its not my wheelhouse but it was a ball that I was able to get to and handle pretty well.

The homer wasnt on his mind when he came to the plate.

I wasnt thinking about it but obviously its pretty cool, he said of the slam. I dont even remember the last time I had a grand slam. Its big any time you can get that kind of cushion for your pitcher and that was the biggest part of the grand slam.

Carlos Villanueva, making his third start, earned the win to move to 3-0. He no-hit the Os through four, then laboured the next 11/3 innings allowing two runs on six hits. He left in the sixth with two on and one out and was bailed out by Luis Perez.

Encouraging signs

Manager John Farrell, meanwhile, came close to breaking into song when he was asked about Brett Cecil.

On the heels of his performance Thursday in Las Vegas 4-1 victory over Tucson where Cecil allowed one run on six hits over nine innings, Farrell was definitely enthused and singing his praises. The hope is that with a repeat performance Cecil could return lickety-split.

The reports were very good, Farrell started off. Up to 94 (m.p.h.), nine innings, complete game, still in the low 90s in the ninth inning. This is a much improved outing over his previous starts with Las Vegas.

The most pleasing aspect for Farrell was the fact that Cecil was able to sit in the low 90s throughout the game, not just get there one in a while.

As to when the Jays might start to think seriously about bringing Cecil back, theyd need more to go on that the one impressive outing.

The one thing that last night did is that immediately you have internal conversation that is all positive because of the step forward that he went through. Whether or not that leads to another outing as consistent as last night and the conversation takes another step forward, that will be determined. But first and foremost, he had the outing that he did.

If that becomes the norm, Im sure that will force the issue even further. We want him to force the issue.

Bravo for Bautista

Jose Bautista has wowed both his teammates, coaches, manager and other teams with his approach, discipline and results through the opening two months of the season.

Meanwhile, you can add the Orioles to the list of teams not wanting to pitch to him. In the third inning with a runner on third and one out, Orioles manager Buck Showalter walked Bautista intentionally and took his chances against Juan Rivera who negated the strategy by driving in a run with a long sac fly to right.

What impresses Farrell these days is Bautistas ability to process how a team is trying to pitch him and adjust so quickly.

He knows not only himself first and foremost but as that has become so consistent for him, his attention is on what the opposition is doing to him, Farrell said. He trusts his swing and his timing so much. Thats whats so impressive in watching him every day, his ability to recognize sequences that are being thrown at him, that he can adjust and almost anticipate certain pitches and put such good swings on them.


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