Orioles 5, Blue Jays 3

Jay Gibbons and B.J. Surhoff homered in the sixth inning to lead Baltimore to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.

The Orioles, who have won two straight after losing 10 of 11, released pitcher Sidney Ponson before the game because of his conduct and off-the-field problems.

"There has been a lot of distractions," Gibbons said. "After losing the first game, we showed that we do care and that we want to win."

Over the last four weeks, the Orioles have dealt with Rafael Palmeiro's 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids and the firing of manager Lee Mazzilli.

"We've gone through a bunch this year," Surhoff said. "This year has been a little unique in not such a good way, but we've just got to keep playing. There is a lot for guys in this room to play for."

Miguel Tejada led off the sixth with a bunt single before scoring on a home run by Gibbons, his 20th. One out later, Surhoff hit his fifth homer to give Baltimore a 4-3 lead. Both homers were off rookie Dustin McGowan (1-3).

"I just made a couple of bad pitches," McGowan said. "You make bad pitches at this level they get hit hard."

Baltimore's Bernie Castro went 2 for 4 with a triple, a walk and stolen base in his major league debut. Castro, called up from Class AAA Ottawa earlier in the day, showed his speed, beating out a grounder to third base in the third for his first major league hit.

"He picked the ballclub up. They saw him run and saw him steal a base," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "They got excited, they were like we've got somebody here that is going to create havoc."

Baltimore's Hayden Penn -- recalled from Class AA Bowie on Thursday -- gave up three runs and seven hits.

"I didn't pitch as well as I could have, but I'm going to take today, we won," Penn said.

B.J. Ryan pitched the ninth for his 29th save and the Orioles took two of three from Toronto for their first series win in two weeks.

Starter Hayden Penn, 20, pitches well as the Orioles take two of three from the Blue Jays.