Toronto (7-5) at Baltimore (7-5)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Mon Apr 14, 2008
  • TV: MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeremy Accardo proved to be a very capable substitute closer last season. The Toronto Blue Jays, though, are a much more formidable team with a healthy B.J. Ryan available.

Ryan and the Blue Jays look to build on their second series sweep of the season Monday night when they open a two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Ryan, who developed into one of the game’s top closers while pitching for the Orioles (7-5) from 1999-2005, saved 38 games in 2006, his first season with Toronto (7-5). His 2007 season, however, only consisted of five appearances due to an elbow injury that required ligament replacement surgery.

After starting this season with Class-A Dunedin, Ryan was activated from the disabled list before Sunday’s game at Texas. The big left-hander gave up a leadoff triple in the bottom of the 10th before retiring the next three batters to preserve the Blue Jays’ 5-4 victory and a three-game sweep.

“It’s good to get the first one under your belt,” Ryan said. “Extra innings on the road, it means even more. That’s why I worked hard all winter, to get the opportunity to come back. It wasn’t the prettiest save but the bottom line is to make a pitch when you have to. We got a good outcome.”

With Ryan back, the Blue Jays now have three left-handers and three right-handers in their bullpen. Ryan’s presence also allows Accardo, who saved 30 games last season, to move into a set-up role.

“You don’t see that anywhere,” manager John Gibbons said. “Lefties are so hard to find to begin with. It’s a good thing. But our lefties can also get out righties and our righties can get out lefties.”

Toronto rebounded with three straight wins after losing three straight at home to Oakland.

“It’s huge,” Gibbons said. “We got swept by Oakland so we had to regroup. We had to come in here tired after a long trip. Our guys played some good baseball. We’ve got a good, solid ballclub and we’re playing hard.”

Gibbons’ team now looks to extend its win streak with Dustin McGowan (0-0, 3.27 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander has pitched effectively in each of his first two starts, but has been supported with only five total runs.

He allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings Wednesday in the Blue Jays’ 6-3 loss to Oakland.

McGowan is 0-2 with a 7.52 ERA in six career appearances - three starts - against the Orioles.

Baltimore returns home after losing four of six on the road to Texas and Tampa Bay. The Orioles lost four of their last five on the trip, including Sunday’s 6-2 defeat to the Rays.

Nick Markakis hit a solo homer for Baltimore, which went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and left nine runners on base.

The Orioles loaded the bases with one out in the first, but were unable to score.

“It would have been nice to put three on the board in the first,” manager Dave Trembley said. “I think that would have set the tone for the game.”

Matt Albers (1-0, 0.00) will make a spot start after Baltimore played a doubleheader at Texas on Thursday. The right-hander, acquired from Houston in the Miguel Tejada trade, has pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings in three relief appearances this season.

Albers was 3-11 with a 5.71 ERA in 18 starts last season for the Astros, allowing 15 home runs in 93 innings. This will be his first appearance against Toronto.

The Blue Jays went 10-8 last season against the Orioles, winning four of their last six games at Camden Yards.

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Starting Pitchers

D. McGowan Phi vs. M. Albers CWS
6-7 Record 3-3
4.37 ERA 3.49
85 K 26
38 BB 22
1.37 WHIP 1.33

Scoreboard

Monday, Apr 14