Orioles-Blue Jays Preview
With his triceps and blister issues seemingly behind him, Josh Johnson will try to help the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays continue their stunning turnaround.
The Blue Jays look to match a franchise record with their 11th straight victory Sunday when they host the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of this three-game series.
Toronto (37-36) rallied late for the second straight day as Jose Bautista's two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Blue Jays to Saturday's 4-2 victory.
Rajai Davis singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a 7-6 win Friday.
"It's been a great run and hopefully we can continue,'' said Bautista, whose team moved out of sole possession of last place in the AL East for the first time since late April.
The Blue Jays, above .500 for the first time since July 29, now turn to Johnson (0-2, 4.38 ERA) as they look to equal their franchise-best streak set in 1987 and matched in 1998.
The right-hander took two extra days off to let a bothersome blister heal before striking out a season-high 10 over 7 1-3 innings in a 2-0 win over Colorado on Monday.
"Definitely the most comfortable I've been,'' said Johnson, who also missed 31 games with a sore right triceps. "Just being able to get extension on all my pitches, not have to worry about the triceps or anything like that.''
Johnson, who has never faced the Orioles (42-33), is 0-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 19 1-3 innings in three starts since returning from the disabled list.
However, he remains winless in seven starts with Toronto, having received only 13 runs of support.
The Blue Jays have been outstanding offensively during the winning streak, averaging 5.7 runs per game while hitting 18 homers and batting .333 with runners in scoring position.
They'll try to continue that production against scheduled starter Freddy Garcia (3-4, 4.80), who hopes to prevent Baltimore's first three-game losing streak since a season-high six-game slide May 14-20.
After going 1-2 with an 8.16 ERA in his last three starts, Garcia allowed two hits in one inning of scoreless relief in Wednesday's 13-3 win at Detroit.
Garcia has won his last two starts in Toronto, giving up four earned runs and 14 hits over 11 innings. He went five innings and yielded two earned runs and nine hits in Baltimore's 6-5 win there May 25.
Emilio Bonifacio homered off the right-hander in that contest, but enters this meeting in a 1-for-17 slump overall.
Adam Lind is 7 for 11 with two homers off Garcia and 20 for 40 with two home runs in his last 11 games against Baltimore.
Munenori Kawasaki, who provided a game-tying home run in the seventh inning Friday, is 9 for 19 with eight RBIs in his last five games versus the Orioles.
Baltimore slugger Chris Davis, the major league leader with 27 home runs, is 2 for 7 with a three-run homer in this series. He's never faced Johnson.
Teammate Nate McLouth is batting .419 during an eight-game hit streak versus Toronto, but is 1 for 11 with five strikeouts against Johnson.