The Baltimore Orioles continue to showcase their potent offense against the Toronto Blue Jays. Hoping to slow them down and salvage a series split for Toronto - which has also swung the bats well - will be a pitcher who hasn’t thrown in two weeks.
Baltimore looks to tee off on little-used Chad Jenkins as its four-game set in Toronto ends Sunday.
After a season-worst six-game losing streak, the Orioles (27-22) picked up their fourth victory in five games Saturday with a 6-5 win. A day earlier, they matched a season high for runs and posted 16 hits in a 10-6 victory.
Baltimore is averaging 5.6 runs and 11.3 hits over its last 14 games, and has received contributions up and down the lineup in the first three games against the Blue Jays.
Seven players have recorded at least three hits, as Manny Machado leads the way with six despite an 0-for-5 performance Saturday while Nick Markakis ran his hitting streak to 10 games. Five have combined for nine home runs, including Adam Jones homering for the third time in three games Saturday and Danny Valencia for the second straight contest.
Jones has an OPS of 1.437 and eight home runs in 12 games at Rogers Centre since the start of 2012.
“I just see the ball good here,” Jones said. “I don’t think it’s anything in particular. It’s just baseball. Crazy things happen.”
The Blue Jays (20-29) haven’t slouched offensively during the series, either, recording six homers among their 41 hits while totaling 23 runs. It’s the starting pitching that has let them down, allowing 18 runs across 15 innings. R.A Dickey was tagged for six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 frames Saturday.
Hoping to pick up Toronto’s staff will be the 25-year-old Jenkins (1-0, 3.60 ERA) in his second game of the season and first since a 12-4 win at Boston on May 12. Toronto backed him with 10 runs of support as he limited the Red Sox to two runs over five innings in his fourth big-league start.
After missing most of spring training and the beginning of the season due to shoulder inflammation, Jenkins has used the time between starts to get closer to full strength. The right-hander said he isn’t worried about command issues due to the layoff. He’ll likely be limited to 80-90 pitches, according to the team’s official website.
“My sinker, I just try to throw it around the dish and let it do the work,” said Jenkins, who gave up four runs and six hits over 3 1-3 innings of relief in Baltimore on Aug. 25, 2012. Machado was 2 for 2 against him.
Baltimore counters with Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.25), who improved to 2-1 versus Toronto as he allowed three runs across six innings in a 4-3 victory April 23.
Like Jenkins, Gonzalez’s last start came after a layoff. He threw seven innings while being charged with two runs in a 3-2, 10-inning win over the Yankees on Tuesday, his first start in 18 days after a stint on the disabled list due to a thumb blister.
Adam Lind 8 for 14 while slugging .929 in the series’ first three games, is 4 for 8 off Gonzalez.
Baltimore had lost 29 of its previous 37 games at Toronto before wins in the last two games.