TORONTO (AP) Marco Estrada is still dealing with the sore back that forced him to skip his first All-Star Game. Even so, he was effective enough for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki hit solo home runs in the first inning, Estrada snapped a four-start winless streak and Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Friday night.
Encarnacion reached base three times and scored twice as the Blue Jays won the opener of a three-game series between the top two teams in the AL East, cutting Baltimore's division lead to half a game. The Orioles have lost four straight.
Estrada (6-4) allowed three earned runs and five hits in six innings.
''I don't feel 100 percent,'' Estrada said, ''but I still feel I can give the team quality innings.''
On July 6, one day after he was picked as an All-Star, Estrada was put on the 15-day disabled list. He was activated last Friday and took the loss in a 2-1 defeat to Seattle.
Originally scheduled to start Wednesday against San Diego, Estrada switched places with R.A. Dickey and was pushed back two days to Friday.
''I thought Marco was a little bit off with his command,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''His changeup was bouncing. They don't normally do that. Maybe the time off affected him.''
Estrada said the soreness is worst in the early innings before his back loosens up.
''The more pitches I throw, the better it gets,'' he said. ''It never completely goes away but it's definitely manageable.''
Joaquin Benoit worked the seventh, Jason Grilli gave up Manny Machado's solo home run in the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his 22nd save.
Mark Trumbo's two-out double gave Baltimore a 2-0 lead in the first but the Blue Jays answered with a trio of solo shots in the bottom half.
Bautista sent Kevin Gausman's second pitch of the game off the facing of the second deck, Encarnacion hit a one-out blast and Tulowitzki added a two-out homer.
Encarnacion's homer was his 28th, third most in majors.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Gausman ''never really found his step'' against the powerful Blue Jays.
''He made a lot of mistakes with his breaking ball and just elevated a lot of pitches,'' Showalter said. ''He made some good pitches but not enough of them against a good hitting team.''
It was the second time this season and 35th time in team history the Blue Jays have hit three home runs in an inning. The last time it happened was July 5, when Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson and Ezequiel Carrera connected in the third off Kansas City's Chris Young.
The Orioles lead the majors with 152 home runs while Toronto is second with 147. The Blue Jays have 15 multihomer innings this season.
Machado tied it 3-all when he scored from first base on an infield grounder in the third. With third baseman Donaldson shifted to the right side, Machado broke for third base after Donaldson threw Chris Davis out at first. Catcher Russell Martin scrambled to cover third base but couldn't handle Justin Smoak's throw.
Machado scored standing up as the ball rolled down the third base line toward home plate.
After throwing seven shutout innings to beat Cleveland in his previous outing, Gausman (2-8) allowed six hits and matched a season-worst by giving up six runs. He lasted three innings, matching his shortest start of the season.
''This is obviously a big series for us,'' Gausman said. ''For me to go out there and just not even be competitive was bad.''
Baltimore signed former Reds RHP Logan Ondrusek and designated RHP Chaz Roe for assignment. The 31-year-old Ondrusek pitched for Cincinnati from 2010 to 2014. He spent the past two seasons in Japan with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
BLUE JAYS MOVE
Blue Jays: Signed C Erik Kratz to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Buffalo.
Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.37) is winless in five starts.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (13-3, 3.27) beat Seattle for his career-high 13th win in his previous start and has won seven straight decisions since his last loss, June 6 at Detroit.