MLB

Orioles-Blue Jays Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays should be thrilled to have 14 games remaining against the Baltimore Orioles.

Another matchup Thursday night gives the Blue Jays a chance to continue pounding Baltimore pitching and complete a three-game sweep.

Toronto (8-7) has won four of five meetings with the Orioles, batting .307 while totaling 40 runs with 54 hits - 26 for extra bases. In their other 10 games, the Blue Jays have batted .240 and averaged 4.7 runs with 25 extra-base hits.

After starting a 10-game homestand with five losses in seven contests, Toronto has taken the first two of this series. Edwin Encarnacion's two homers keyed Tuesday's 13-6 victory and Justin Smoak and rookie Devon Travis hit two-run shots in a 4-2 win Wednesday.

Travis had three hits in his return to the lineup after sitting out the past two games with sore ribs. He's batting .424 with three homers and 11 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.

''I don't know what's happening,'' Travis said of his power surge. ''That's just a blessing because I don't know where the heck that's coming from.''

Wednesday's win came without slugger Jose Bautista, who has a strained right shoulder that will prevent him from playing the outfield. Bautista, though, could serve as the DH in the finale.

Jimmy Paredes hit a two-run homer for the Orioles (7-8), who failed to capitalize on seven walks issued by starter Aaron Sanchez.

''We didn't take advantage of the walks,'' manager Buck Showalter said.

Baltimore has gone 3 for 26 with runners in scoring position during a three-game losing streak.

The clutch hitting has been about as bad as the rotation, a group that has failed to complete six innings in seven consecutive games with a 5.87 ERA.

Chris Tillman (2-1, 5.52 ERA) will try to put a stop to that and atone for a dismal performance against the Blue Jays earlier this month. The right-hander allowed seven runs and two homers with three walks over 2 2-3 innings of a 10-7 loss April 12.

He was much sharper Saturday at Boston, yielding one run in 5 1-3 innings while striking out five and walking two in a 4-1 victory.

''After starts like that, it's not fun,'' Tillman said. ''You just want to get back out there and help the team.''

Tillman has gone 1-3 with an 8.86 ERA in his last four overall starts against the Blue Jays, and has a 6.57 ERA in four career outings at Rogers Centre.

Jose Reyes is 9 for 24 (.375) with a homer and three doubles against him.

Drew Hutchison (1-0, 7.20) is looking to rebound from two consecutive disappointing outings, giving up 12 runs and 14 hits over nine innings in that span after a solid season debut.

The first of those appearances came opposite Tillman on April 12 and the right-hander failed to earn the win after allowing seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.

Hutchison is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four home starts against Baltimore, walking six and striking out 34 in 26 2-3 innings.

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