Blue Jays-Orioles Preview

Although they probably weren’t in any hurry to leave Kansas

City, the Toronto Blue Jays also have enjoyed their recent visits

to Baltimore.

After sweeping a four-game series from the majors’ worst team,

the Blue Jays look to continue their road success Tuesday night in

the opener of a three-game set against the Orioles.

Coming off back-to-back losses at home to Tampa Bay, Toronto

(10-6) found the perfect opponent in the ideal place over the


The Blue Jays completed their first four-game road sweep since

2003 with a 4-1 victory Monday night over the Royals, who finished

a winless 10-game homestand. Home runs by Kelly Johnson and Jose

Bautista helped Toronto improve to 6-1 on the road for the second

time in three seasons.

A win in this series opener would match the Jays’ longest road

win streak from last season and would be their 13th in 19 games at

Camden Yards since the start of 2010. The last two there haven’t

been close, with the Blue Jays winning both by a combined 21-6

score and pounding out 17 of 33 hits for extra bases.

“They’re playing good, and we’re playing good,” Bautista told

the team’s official website. “It’s always very important to win

against teams in your division, so it’s an important series.”

The Orioles (9-7) return home after winning six of 10 on the

road, marking the first time they won more than they lost during a

10-game trip since September 2004.

Nick Markakis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and a

run-scoring single in the 10th to help Baltimore avoid a sweep with

a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Markakis is 7 for 20 (.350) in his last five games after going 3

for 35 (.086) in his previous nine.

“I feel like I’m comfortable at the plate, but things just

weren’t coming,” Markakis said. “But it’s a long season and it’s

still early.”

A key to Sunday’s victory was a rare error-free game by the

Orioles, who committed six in the first two games of the series and

have made an AL-high 19. Baltimore is 4-0 when it doesn’t commit a


The Orioles hope to have left fielder Nolan Reimold back in the

lineup after the team’s hottest hitter sat out the last two games

with neck spasms. Reimold is batting .405 (17 for 42) with five

homers and 10 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak.

Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.66 ERA) starts for Toronto looking to

rebound from one of the worst starts of his brief career. The

right-hander allowed six runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings in a

9-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Facing the Orioles for the second time this season could help

Alvarez get back on track. He is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three

starts against Baltimore, yielding three runs in seven innings

April 14 before leaving without a decision in a 6-4 loss.

Chris Davis is one of the few Orioles to give Alvarez trouble,

going 4 for 5 with a homer and double.

Also coming off a poor performance is Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter

(1-1, 5.79), who was tagged for eight runs and eight hits in 5 2-3

innings Wednesday in an 8-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The

right-hander matched a career high with eight strikeouts but

surrendered two homers.

The long ball was a problem for Hunter against the Blue Jays on

April 13, when he gave up four in six innings. He didn’t receive a

decision in a 7-5 win.

Yunel Escobar had one of his two homers off Hunter in that game,

and is 7 for 14 with three doubles in their matchups.