Blue Jays try to make it two straight over Orioles
TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles are offensively challenged teams looking for something good to happen during their four-game series at the Rogers Centre.
The bottom two clubs in the American League East deserve each other. They've come a long way down since the Blue Jays beat the Orioles in the 2016 American League wild-card game.
The opening game of the series Thursday night seemed to be going the Orioles' way when they hit one home run in the seventh inning and two in the eighth to take a 4-1 lead.
The Blue Jays (27-35), however, who have been struggling at home, scored three in the ninth against Brad Brach to tie the game and won it 5-4 on a two-out, RBI single by Aledmys Diaz in the 10th against Miguel Castro.
It was only the second win in the past 12 games at home for the Blue Jays, who are 6-1 in extra innings this season. Toronto is 13-19 at home for the season,
The teams will play the second game of the series Friday night.
The Orioles (19-42) will start right-hander Andrew Cashner (2-7, 5.02 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (7-3, 4.08).
Cashner held the Blue Jays to four hits, three walks and no runs while striking out six over seven innings in a no-decision at Camden Yards on April 10. The Blue Jays won the game 2-1.
Cashner is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.
Happ was the winning pitcher on April 9 at Baltimore when the Blue Jays defeated the Orioles 7-1. He allowed one run, five hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out nine. He is 5-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 career games (15 starts) against the Orioles.
The Orioles are on the verge of getting some needed help next week. Closer Zach Britton is expected to join the team for the first time this season Wednesday.
Britton has been on the disabled list all season while recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. He has allowed two hits and no runs in four rehabilitation outings over 4 1/3 innings. He has five strikeouts and no walks.
"I'm really pleasantly surprised at how well he has executed," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You can tell he's chomping at the bit. He's had a lot of time to work and do things. He doesn't tinker too much. He throws the right amount of breaking balls. I think he knows what's ahead of him."
Britton will pitch on back-to-back days for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday and Monday, the final test before rejoining the Orioles.
The Blue Jays could have third baseman Josh Donaldson back as soon as Friday. He has been on the disabled list with a tight left calf since May 29.
As the Blue Jays have scuffled, losing 17 of their past 23 games despite the win Thursday, there are suggestions that the team might begin to trade players such as Donaldson, who can become a free agent at the end of the season.
"It's tough, man," Donaldson said. "When things aren't going your way and you have a lot of different areas scuffling at different times, and sometimes at the same time, you just have to try to stay positive. Kind of try to drown out the noise going on."
Updated June 8, 2018