This time of the year in Toronto, fans typically are gearing up for preseason hockey camps and satisfying their need for sports with the Canadian Football League. In other words, the Blue Jays haven’t been relevant this late in the season in a long time.

So when the first-place Orioles arrived Tuesday to open a three-game series between the top two teams in the American League East standings, there was some unusual buzz at the Rogers Centre. Fans lined in front of the ticket counter four hours before the game. A local newspaper’s back-page headline touted the meeting as the "Biggest series ever."

The Orioles, however, wasted no time taking control of the series and removing the energy from the home crowd Tuesday, posting their best offensive output in more than two months in a 9-3 win over the Blue Jays in front of an announced 36,183.

With the win, the Orioles (64-48) took a five-game lead over the Blue Jays in the AL East, and they are now a season-high 16 games over .500. Since dropping two of three in Oakland to begin the second half, the Orioles have won 11 of their last 15 games to take control of the division.

“We’re going to do everything we can to come out and create some space,” said Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, who homered in his third consecutive game, about widening the division lead. “We’ve got guys behind us who are coming after us hard. These are the type of games where you can gain ground and we have to go out and play solid baseball and hopefully we come out on top.”

Head-to-head meetings within the division this time of the year are critical, and with Tuesday’s win, the Orioles were able to distance themselves from the second-place Blue Jays without scoreboard watching.