Blue Jays’ modest win streak could hit three vs. Orioles

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays will be trying to win their third game in a row Saturday afternoon when they continue their four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre.

That would not be particularly significant for most teams, but it is for the Blue Jays (28-35).

Their 5-1 victory over the Orioles (19-43) on Friday night gave them their second straight win for the first time in more than a month and clinched at least a split in the series between the two worst teams in the American League East.

It is the first time the Blue Jays have won two games in a row since April 29-May 1, a span of 33 games.

They had not won two in a row at home since April 17-18 when they swept a three-game series from the Kansas City Royals that included a doubleheader.

“That’s hard to do,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We’ve been consistent. But it’ll get better. I don’t know what the record is, but it can’t be a heck of a lot more than that, I wouldn’t think.”

The Blue Jays’ longest stretch without consecutive wins is 49 games in 1979, the team’s third year of existence. The Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners were expansion teams that first played in the American League in 1977.

Toronto’s second longest stretch without winning two games in a row was 35, also in 1979.

The Orioles will start right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.83 ERA) on Saturday against Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.48).

Sanchez held the Orioles to one run, three hits and five walks and had four strikeouts in eight innings on April 10 in Toronto’s 2-1 win at Camden Yards.

The 25-year-old is 6-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 16 career games (11 starts) against the Orioles.

Gausman was the winning pitcher in the Orioles’ 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays on April 11 at Camden Yards. He allowed three runs, six hits and three walks while striking out seven in six innings.

The 27-year-old is 6-3 with a 3.22 ERA in 19 career games (14 starts) against Toronto.

Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ allowed two hits and one unearned run in picking up the 100th career win on Friday. Craig Gentry had three of the Orioles’ five hits.

The Orioles have been held to one or no runs in 18 games this season, the most in the major leagues.

“We just haven’t done much offensively, from some people who have done it in the past,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’re just not doing it now.”

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is among the notable players struggling at the plate. The slugger is batting .152/.232/.232 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 55 games.

He was given the day off Friday in the hopes getting him back on track. Since 2012, he ranks third in the majors among active players with 227 home runs.

“We’ve tried it multiple times, but most of the time at this level it’s a mental or emotional day off more than anything,” Showalter said. “Nothing would take the place of a good Chris Davis and what he’s capable of doing. We’ve missed that in his lineup.

“He’s not the only one. We’ve had some other people struggling. … You’ve got two or three spots where we’re not getting much out of. It’s a challenge, but Chris isn’t the only one.”

The Blue Jays have also had trouble hitting. Their three solo home runs Friday and 13 hits were the most in a game since they had three homers and 15 hits in a 12-1 win over the New York Mets on May 16.

The Blue Jays are 14-19 at home. The win Friday was their third in their past 13 homes games.

The Orioles have the worst road record in the majors at 9-25.