Joe Saunders began pondering perfection just one inning into his latest start.
Saunders and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and the charging Baltimore Orioles blanked the Blue Jays, 4-0, Monday in Toronto, cutting their AL East deficit to one game.
The Orioles, who took two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, moved even closer to New York. The Yankees lost, 4-3, at Tampa Bay.
J.J. Hardy drove in two runs as the Orioles won for the eighth time in 10 games. The one-game gap marks the closest anyone has been to the Yankees since mid-June.
Acquired recently from Arizona, Saunders (1-1) retired the first 17 Blue Jays batters before hanging a changeup to nine-hole hitter Adeiny Hechavarria, who lined a two-out single to center in the sixth.
Baltimore collected its eighth shutout of the season and has won 20 of 28 overall.
Rangers 8, Royals 4 — Yu Darvish retired the first 17 batters, Texas hit five home runs and the Rangers beat host Kansas City.
Geovany Soto had a three-run blast and Josh Hamilton hit a solo shot for his 38th home run.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning, and Michael Young added a two-run drive in the ninth for Texas, which won for the ninth time in 12 games.
Angels 8, Athletics 3 — Chris Iannetta hit a two-run homer in a three-hit day, Vernon Wells had a solo shot and RBI single, and visiting Los Angeles snapped Oakland’s season-best nine-game winning streak.
C.J. Wilson (11-9) shut down the red-hot Athletics in the Angels’ sixth victory in the last seven.