The Baltimore Orioles won’t make the playoffs, but they are certainly having a say in who will.
Coming off two impressive series wins, the Orioles look to record a rare victory in Toronto on Friday night when they open a three-game set against the Blue Jays.
The three-run 10th came after Baltimore’s bullpen was unable to protect a three-run lead in the bottom of he ninth, spoiling ace Erik Bedard’s 13th win.
The Orioles (56-63) took two of three from the playoff-hopeful Yankees after winning two of three at home against AL East-leading Boston. They came from behind and won in their final at-bat in both victories against the Red Sox.
Baltimore, hoping to end a run of nine straight losing seasons, is 18-13 since the All-Star break, and 27-23 under manager Dave Trembley.
“As I told you when we took over here, we were never going to give up,” Trembley said. “We keep our poise. Guys don’t lose their composure.”
Huff has been a disappointment in his first season with the Orioles, but is coming off his best series since joining the team.
He went 5-for-11 with two homers and seven RBIs in three games at New York, but may not even be in the lineup Friday against Toronto’s A.J. Burnett (6-6, 4.09 ERA). Huff is 4-for-34 (.118) with 10 strikeouts lifetime against Burnett.
Baltimore has lost all three games at Toronto this season, and has dropped eight of its last nine visits to Rogers Centre.
Despite a ninth-inning rally, the Blue Jays could not complete a three-game sweep of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels, falling 4-3 on Thursday.
It was only the fifth loss in 21 home games for Toronto (61-59), which fell six games behind wild card-leading Seattle.
Garrett Olson (1-1, 4.60 ERA) makes his fourth major league start for the Orioles. The 23-year-old left-hander wasn’t sharp in his last start, a 6-2 home loss to Boston on Saturday. He gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, walking six and striking out six. Olson got ahead of only eight of the 30 batters he faced.
“Today I just ended up walking too many guys instead of going after everybody,” he said. “I wasn’t too nervous, I felt pretty good out there, actually. I just didn’t have the fastball command and my curveball early on was kind of all over the place.”
Olson, who will be facing the Blue Jays for the first time, has walked 14 in his first three starts over 15 2-3 innings.
Burnett makes his second start since returning to the rotation after spending nearly six weeks on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder. The right-hander showed no signs of rust Sunday in a 4-1 victory at Kansas City, allowing one run and three hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked three in his first outing since June 28, holding the Royals scoreless until Alex Gordon led off the eighth with a home run.
“I think he’s going to give us a boost and finish strong, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “I think it’s going to help us out. All he’s doing is making a strong rotation even stronger.”
Burnett has pitched very well against Baltimore, going 2-0 with a 2.78 ERA in three starts this season, and is 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in four career outings.