Baltimore (56-64) at Toronto (62-59)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 1:07 pm EDT Sat Aug 18, 2007
  • TV: MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Something about playing in Toronto keeps the Baltimore Orioles’ bats quiet. The Blue Jays’ red-hot pitching may have something to do with that.

The Blue Jays look to remain perfect at home this season against the Orioles when the AL East rivals continue a three-game series on Saturday afternoon.

A.J. Burnett was sharp again in his second start off the disabled list, and Frank Thomas hit a three-run homer to help the Blue Jays to a 5-2 victory in Friday’s series opener.

Vernon Wells had two hits and one RBI for Toronto (62-59), which matched a season high by moving three games over .500. The Blue Jays have won 12 of 15 at home and are 38-23 at Rogers Centre.

“We’re playing great baseball right now,” Thomas said. “The pitching staff has been incredible. If we score four or five runs, we have a chance to win every night.”

Burnett allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1-3 innings to post the eighth consecutive quality start by Toronto’s rotation, which boasts a 2.11 ERA over that stretch and a major league-best 3.27 ERA in August.

The Blue Jays have won all four home games against the Orioles this season, holding them to six runs and a .153 batting average. Toronto has won nine of the last 10 meetings at Rogers Centre.

Brian Roberts hit a solo homer for Baltimore (56-64), which dropped to 18-14 since the All-Star break, and 27-24 under manager Dave Trembley.

Kevin Millar was hit by a pitch in the eighth and has reached base safely in 45 consecutive games. It’s the longest streak by an Oriole since Cal Ripken Jr. reached in 46 straight in 1998. Ken Singleton set the club record at 49 in a row in 1977.

Toronto’s pitching hasn’t needed much support lately, but Thomas has provided plenty. He is batting .340 (18-for-53) with three homers and 19 RBIs in 15 games this month.

Thomas is five homers shy of tying Mel Ott (511) for 19th on the career list.

“It’s been a long season,” said Thomas, who has 19 homers and 73 RBIs. “I’m not quitting. I’ve still got goals, I’ve still got things I’ve got to do personally to keep me focused. I’m one of these guys that always feels I should drive in 100 runs every year. If that’s one of those things that keeps me focused, I’m going to stay there.”

Jesse Litsch (4-5, 3.54 ERA) hopes his second career start against the Orioles goes as well as the first. The rookie right-hander made his major league debut at home versus Baltimore on May 15, giving up one run and four hits while coming within one out of a complete game in a 2-1 victory. He became the first Blue Jay to win his debut as a starter since Gustavo Chacin beat the New York Yankees on Sept. 20, 2004.

Litsch wasn’t helped by his defense in a 6-2 loss at Kansas City on Monday, as he allowed five runs - two earned - in 6 2-3 innings.

Baltimore’s Steve Trachsel (5-7, 4.85) hopes to record his first win in more than two months. The veteran right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.55 ERA in nine starts since beating Colorado on June 8, and hasn’t won on the road since May 28.

Trachsel has pitched better in his last three outings, allowing five earned runs in 18 innings. He gave up three runs and a season-high 10 hits Sunday in Baltimore’s 6-3 win over Boston.

Trachsel, who pitched for Toronto in the 2000 season, is 5-0 with a 2.98 ERA in six career starts against his former team.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Trachsel Bal vs. J. Litsch Tor
7-11 Record 7-9
4.90 ERA 3.81
56 K 50
76 BB 36
1.59 WHIP 1.37

Scoreboard

Saturday, Aug 18