Blue Jays-Orioles Preview

In a rare occurrence, the Toronto Blue Jays were outslugged in
their last game. They likely won’t have to worry about that against
the light-hitting Baltimore Orioles.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays face off with the Orioles for
the first time Friday, hoping to enjoy the same success against
their AL East rival as they had last year.

Toronto (28-28) has followed a four-game winning streak by
losing its last two, including a 13-9 defeat to Cleveland on
Wednesday. The Blue Jays fell for just the third time in 22 games
when scoring at least six runs – they were 10-0 in May when
reaching that mark.

They trailed 12-0 after three innings before their rally fell
short. Eric Thames, Rajai Davis and Jayson Nix hit three straight
triples during a three-run fifth – the first team to do that in 30
years. Davis drove in four runs, and Bautista hit a two-run single
in the ninth.

“It could have been a lot uglier than it was,” Corey Patterson
told the team’s official website. “We got the nine runs – that’s a
positive we can take. We didn’t just fold.”

Bautista leads the majors with 20 home runs but has gone four
games without one. His longest drought this season is five games.
However, he’s 10 for 20 with eight RBIs in the last five games.

Bautista keyed Toronto’s success against Baltimore in 2010,
hitting nine home runs in 18 games. The Blue Jays went 15-3 in the
series, although they were swept in a three-game set at Camden
Yards in September.

The Orioles (25-29) scored 18 runs in that series but averaged
2.2 in the 15 losses, and the offense wasn’t much better on their
recent six-game road swing.

They were held to two runs four times in that span while batting
.212 but avoided a winless trip with a 2-1 win at Seattle on
Wednesday.

Adam Jones had three hits, including the go-ahead homer in the
eighth inning, and made a highlight-reel catch against the
center-field wall. Jones is batting .361 in the last 21 games, with
10 of his 30 hits going for extra bases.

“He’s having a special year,” manager Buck Showalter said.

That’s particularly true at home, where Jones is hitting .315
with six homers and 24 RBIs in 29 games. He’s at .273 with one home
run and six RBIs on the road.

Similarly, the Orioles have been much better at Camden Yards,
winning five straight. They haven’t won six in a row at home since
April 2-14, 2008.

Baltimore’s Zach Britton (5-3, 2.93 ERA) is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA
in seven home starts heading into his outing Friday.

The rookie left-hander, who has the lowest ERA among the
rotation, is coming off his worst start after giving up six runs
and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-4 loss at Oakland on
Sunday.

“The next time, I’m not saying I’m going to dominate, but I’m
going to go out there and focus on making better pitches and keep
us in the game a little bit better than I did,” Britton told the
Orioles’ official website.

Carlos Villanueva (2-0, 2.62) is scheduled to make his third
start in place of the injured Jesse Litsch for Toronto.

After holding the New York Yankees to one run in five innings
May 23, he surrendered six runs and eight hits in five innings of a
9-8, 14-inning win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

The right-hander made a four-inning relief appearance in 2008
against Baltimore, allowing one run and two hits.