The Baltimore Orioles will be out to clinch their three-game series with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday night and continue to close ground in the wild-card race.
The Orioles won the series opener 7-4 on Monday night to move within three games of the Blue Jays, who occupy the first American League wild-card spot.
The Orioles and Blue Jays meet 14 more times in the regular season.
“Any time you’re playing against teams that are ahead of you, they’re important games,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Every game is important. We’re in the middle of August, and we’re in it. We just want to play well down the stretch no matter who we’re playing.”
The Orioles have won three of the first five games between the teams this season. The teams split four games in Toronto from June 13-16.
“(The Blue Jays have) a really good lineup,” Hyde said. “They’re pretty balanced in that they have a little bit of power, speed, superstars in the middle. It’s a really, really good team that we’ve got to pitch carefully. I thought we did a pretty good job in Toronto, first series.”
“The more you see (the same) people, the more familiar — and the more competitive — it gets,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “Execution will be big. When you have a team you’re familiar with and you’ll play them quite a bit, the game plan is the game plan.”
The Orioles will start right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-4, 6.55 ERA) on Tuesday.
Bradish has faced Toronto once in his career, on June 13, when he took the loss after allowing five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in an 11-1 defeat.
Toronto plans to counter with right-hander Alek Manoah (12-5, 2.45).
Manoah pitched six scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against the Orioles in that meeting on June 13. In four career starts against Baltimore, Manoah is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA.
The Orioles hit four home runs Monday with Ramon Urias smacking a three-run shot in the first inning. Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays added solo shots. Baltimore had hit just six homers in their first six games in August.
Hays was 2-for-4 on his return to the lineup after missing four games with an oblique injury.
“It’s a divisional series, and it’s a good team,” Hays said. “They can swing it, so we’re going to go out there and play how we have been. Our pitchers are going to keep doing what they’ve been doing.”
The Blue Jays had solo homers from Cavan Biggio and Matt Chapman on Monday.
Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled in the fifth inning in going 1-for-5 Monday to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 19 games. He is batting .397 (31-for-78) with eight doubles, three home runs, 16 runs and 12 RBIs during the streak.
Toronto right fielder Teoscar Hernandez was also 1-for-5 Monday to extend his hit streak to nine games to match his season best. He is batting .314 (11-for-35) with three doubles, three home runs, seven runs and six RBIs during the streak.
The Blue Jays are 3-4 with two games to play on their nine-game road trip.
Baltimore recalled right-hander Louis Head from Triple-A Norfolk Monday and optioned right-hander Beau Sulser to Norfolk.
–Field Level Media