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The Strike Zone

Surging Blue Jays reach .500 and climb back into the AL East conversation

Munenori Kawasaki and the Blue Jays have had no shortage of reasons to celebrate lately. Munenori Kawasaki and the Blue Jays have had no shortage of reasons to celebrate lately. (Brad White/Getty Images)

They are in last place in the AL East, seven games behind the first-place Red Sox -- and yet doesn’t it suddenly feel like the Blue Jays are the most dangerous team in the division?

Here comes Toronto, which beat the Orioles 7-6 on Friday night for their ninth straight win when Rajai Davis singled  with two down in the bottom of the ninth off the Orioles’ Pedro Strop. Davis’ hit capped a dramatic comeback win for the Blue Jays, who are now 36-36 --  back at .500 for the first time since they were 0-0 on Opening Day -- and just one game back behind the Rays in the standings, thanks to the outfielder’s heroics:

How has Toronto gotten back into the race? Going into Friday, the Jays’ starting pitching ERA during the win streak was 1.87. The Jays’ bullpen extended its scoreless streak to 27 straight innings, their longest run since 1993. On Friday, Munenori Kawasaki even hit his first career home run in the seventh to tie the game at 6.

Things are about to get a lot better for Toronto as well: Early next week, they’ll get Jose Reyes back in the lineup. Toronto enters the weekend looking at a 14-game stretch where they play the Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Tigers. Are the Blue Jays for real? We’re about to find out.

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