Baltimore (55-58) at Toronto (48-67)

Breezy Currently: Toronto, ON, CA
Temp: 44° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Aug 13, 2004
  • TV: RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Sidney Ponson has pitched himself back into the good graces of the Baltimore Orioles.

The right-hander will try to win his fifth straight decision when the surging Orioles open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome.

Ponson, traded to San Francisco at last year’s deadline and re-signed by Baltimore this past offseason, struggled while trying to live up to his lucrative $ 22.5, three-year deal during the season’s first three months. He was 3-12 with a 6.29 ERA on July 4 after losing his ninth straight start.

However, Ponson has come back strong over the last month, going 4-0 in five starts while yielding three earned runs or fewer in all but one of those outings. He allowed three runs and five hits over 7 2-3 innings in an 11-5 win over Texas on Monday, lowering his ERA to 5.69.

Baltimore fans showed their appreciation for Ponson’s resurgence, giving him a standing ovation when he was lifted in the eighth inning.

“If I have a bad game next time here, they’ll boo me again,” Ponson said. “It’s part of the process. I can’t get too high, I can’t get too low.”

The Orioles continued their steady climb back to respectability with a 6-1 victory over Anaheim on Thursday. Melvin Mora homered and drove in three runs as the Orioles won for the ninth time in 10 games, moving within three victories of .500.

Since coming off the disabled list on July 18, Mora is hitting .344 with nine homers and 28 RBIs. He has four homers in his last five games and 20 RBIs in his last 13 contests.

“It’s a huge bat in the middle of the lineup and he just makes us that much tougher,” teammate David Newhan said of Mora. “You’ve got to put him among the top five all-around hitters right now. He’s been incredible to watch.”

The Blue Jays have dropped eight of nine, including a 6-2 setback at Cleveland on Thursday. Toronto managed just three hits, falling to 1-3 since interim manager John Gibbons took over for Carlos Tosca over the weekend in New York.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Ponson KC vs. M. Batista COL
11-15 Record 10-13
5.30 ERA 4.80
115 K 104
69 BB 96
1.55 WHIP 1.52