Being two games over .500 is nothing to get overly excited about. It would, however, represent progress for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays look to move two games over the break-even mark on Thursday afternoon when they close a four-game road series against the Minnesota Twins.
Gregg Zaun hit a two-run homer and the Blue Jays overcame a season high-tying four errors in a 5-4 victory Wednesday.
Howie Clark added two hits and one RBI for Toronto (39-38), which erased a three-run deficit en route to its fifth win in six games.
A victory Thursday would move the Blue Jays two games over .500 for the first time since they were 8-6 on April 18.
Clark started at second base on Wednesday and is expected to start at third in this game. He is batting .364 (8-for-22) since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on May 30.
“We just want to get Howie some at-bats,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He’s been swinging the bat really well.”
Minnesota is 3-2 since first baseman Justin Morneau suffered a bruised lung in Friday’s 5-4 loss at Florida. The AL MVP passed more medical tests Wednesday, but isn’t expected to play until Friday against Detroit at the earliest.
“He’s going to start working out and we’ll gauge that accordingly to how he feels day-to-day,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “When he tells us he can get out there and start running around and playing, that’s when he’ll play.”
Morneau’s injury has forced Gardenhire to shuffle his personnel to compensate for the missing offense. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer is expected to make his third straight start at first base on Thursday, while catcher Joe Mauer will return to his regular position after serving as DH Wednesday.
“It’s kind of necessary right know, with Justin out,” Gardenhire said. “You want to keep as much offense as you can in there.”
A. J. Burnett (5-6, 4.00) is scheduled to make his first start in two weeks for Toronto. The right-hander came out of his last start on June 12 in the fifth inning with a sore shoulder. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 19.
Burnett said he felt good enough to start after throwing a bullpen session Monday. He will be on a pitch count after averaging 124 pitches in his last three games.
“I hope Thursday I’m on 140 pitches,” Burnett joked on the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “That’s just how I’m made. It won’t be anywhere near that, but they’ll take care of me. They’ve done a good job doing this.”
Burnett, who has lost three straight decisions, gave up four runs and three hits over eight innings in a 4-2 loss at Minnesota on May 27. He is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA in two starts against the Twins.
Silva will try to beat the Blue Jays for the second time this season. He limited them to two runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings against Burnett. Silva was 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in his first two career starts against Toronto.
The right-hander was outstanding for the second time in three starts, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings in an 11-1 win at Florida on June 23. He has held opponents to two runs or fewer in four of his last six starts.