American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 24th (All times Eastern)
Baltimore Orioles (10-10) at Toronto Blue Jays (11-10), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Bud Norris (0-2, 4.42) Toronto - Drew Hutchison (1-1, 3.60)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles aim to wrap up a two-city road trip with a winning record on Thursday night as they battle the Toronto Blue Jays in the rubber match of a three-game series.
After splitting four games with the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles lost the opener of this series before powering their way to Wednesday night's 10-8 victory. Nelson Cruz homered twice, hitting a solo homer in the third inning before sparking a big fifth inning with his seventh career grand slam.
Cruz has driven in a run in six straight games, with 14 over that span, and sits in a tie for second in the American League with 21 RBI.
"Nelson is a great hitter," O's catcher Matt Wieters said. "I always had trouble calling pitches against him so I'm glad he's on our team. He's a huge addition to the middle of our lineup."
Wieters added a solo homer among his three hits, while Chris Davis went deep in the first inning to extend his career-best streak of reaching base safely to 19 straight games.
Chris Tillman received the win despite allowing seven runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Tommy Hunter escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to earn his sixth save of the season.
Brett Lawrie, Jose Reyes and Ryan Goins all homered for Toronto, which had won three of its last four after taking Tuesday's opener 9-3.
Melky Cabrera went 3-for-5 with a double for the Blue Jays, while starter Dustin McGowan gave up six runs on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts in four-plus innings of work.
"At 60 pitches I kind of seem to be falling backwards a little bit," McGowan said. "I feel good, my arm feels great. It's just sometimes it seems like the ball is not coming out quite right after 60-65 pitches."
The Blue Jays won two of three over the hosting Orioles back on April 11-13 and will try for their second series victory over the AL East rivals tonight behind Drew Hutchison.
The right-hander faced the Orioles on April 12 and did not get a decision in his club's 2-1 loss in 12 innings. Hutchison hurled six scoreless frames of four-hit ball and is 1-0 lifetime versus Baltimore with a 1.00 earned run average in three starts.
Hutchison then picked up a second straight no-decision on Friday versus Cleveland, yielding two runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old fanned nine and sits 1-1 through four starts with a 3.60 ERA.
Bud Norris opposed Hutchison back on April 12 and will do so again tonight. He also turned in a scoreless outing on that day, scattering five hits and three walks over seven innings of a no-decision.
The 29-year-old righty faced Boston on Saturday and lost for the second time this season, charged with four runs on five hits and two walks over 6 1/3 frames. He fanned seven in the 4-2 setback.
04/24 10:33:17 ET