Even the Toronto Blue Jay’s strong lineup struggled during their longest losing streak of the season. A hitting resurgence, though, is helping them recover from the weeklong slide.
The Blue Jays (59-53) look to win three straight for just the second time since the All-Star break as they host the struggling Baltimore Orioles (50-63) on Tuesday in the middle game of their series.
Toronto, which ranks among the majors’ leaders in home runs, RBIs and batting average, outhit Baltimore 14-2 in an 8-1 win in the series opener Monday.
The Blue Jays ended a seven-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Toronto scored two runs or less in four of their previous five games before Sunday’s victory, marking one of its worst scoring droughts of the season.
Lyle Overbay homered and drove in five runs to lead the Blue Jays on Monday after he hit .117 (2-for-17) with no extra-base hits, no RBIs and four strikeouts in his previous five games.
Vernon Wells added his 27th homer for the Blue Jays, his first in 44 at-bats.
Blue Jays left fielder Reed Johnson went 3-for-4 Monday to raise his average to .347. Johnson, whose plate appearances were limited early in the season because of a platoon with Frank Catalanotto, needs two at-bats to qualify for the batting title, putting him in contention with Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
“I’m not really thinking about that right now, and that’s the honest truth,” Johnson said. “All I’ve cared about is getting on base. You don’t press when all you care about is getting on base. You’ll take a walk, you’ll take a hit-by-pitch, you’ll take a flare into right field—you’ll take anything.”
A win Tuesday would give Toronto three straight victories for the first time since July 15-17.
The Blue Jays will send Shaun Marcum (1-1, 5.33 ERA) to the mound Tuesday to make his fifth straight start after seven relief appearances. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA as a starter.
Marcum is coming off his worst start, allowing three runs and four hits in 2 2-3 innings in an 8-1 loss to the Yankees on Thursday. He has made one career appearance against Baltimore, giving up one hit and one walk in one inning of relief last Sept. 6.
“It was a long day,” Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said. “What can you say? We got two hits.”
The Orioles are going through their own hitting slump. They left eight runners in scoring position in a 6-1 loss to the Yankees on Sunday and have scored two runs or less in three of their last five games, going 1-4 in that span.
Baltimore, playing the opening series of a nine-game road trip, will start Daniel Cabrera (4-7, 5.25) on Tuesday. The right-hander will be making his first appearance since being sent down to Triple-A Ottawa on July 14 after losing five straight decisions from June 15-July 13.
Cabrera has struggled with his control this season, allowing 75 walks in 85 2-3 innings. He has walked at least five in 10 of his 16 starts, and Baltimore has won just six times when he has taken the mound.
Cabrera is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA against Toronto this season, walking eight and striking out 15 in 11 innings. He is 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in nine career starts against the Blue Jays.
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