Jays visit O’s as Morales seeks HR in eighth straight game

BALTIMORE — Kendrys Morales will have a chance to tie a major league record Monday when his Toronto Blue Jays come to Oriole Park to start a three-game series versus Baltimore.

Morales homered for the seventh consecutive game Sunday in a loss to the Phillies. The major league record for homers in consecutive games is eight, shared by Ken Griffey Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956).

“It’s pretty impressive,” Toronto manager John Gibbons told the media Sunday. “It’s a surprise he still gets pitches to hit. It really couldn’t happen to a better guy.”

Morales also could be helped by the fact that he’s coming to Camden Yards, a place the baseball tends to fly out of on a warm summer night.

Morales comes into the Baltimore series with a .264 average, 21 home runs and 53 RBIs. His homer Sunday that stretched the streak to seven came in the first inning against Philadelphia.

Toronto had won five in a row before Sunday’s loss, so the Blue Jays will try to start another winning streak. They’ve done well against the Orioles this season, winning 12 of 13 games versus Baltimore.

In fact, the Blue Jays took all 10 games they played against the Orioles in Toronto this season.

The Blue Jays (60-70) will start Sam Gaviglio (3-6, 4.94 ERA) while Baltimore counters with David Hess (2-8, 5.50). Gaviglio’s last start came versus Baltimore, when he picked up the win after allowing two runs in seven innings in Toronto’s 7-2 victory Tuesday. He is 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in two starts versus the Orioles.

Hess is 0-1 and has a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays after allowing one run in seven innings of a 6-0 loss at Toronto on Wednesday. He has been pitching better lately for a Baltimore team that’s been having problems everywhere.

The Orioles (37-94) come into the series having dropped eight straight games after the Yankees completed a four-game sweep with a 5-3 victory Sunday night.

They also lost rookie center fielder Cedric Mullins with a hip injury. He did not play Sunday. Manager Buck Showalter told the media that Mullins suffered the injury during Saturday’s doubleheader loss.

“He’s not sure exactly which play,” Showalter told the media. “He thought it was probably on a throw he made, kind of off-balance, awkward throw. Just didn’t think it was in his best interest (to play Sunday). I don’t want it to linger on.”

Mullins has a .309 average in 15 games since coming to the major leagues for the first time Aug. 10. That’s when Showalter moved long-time center fielder Adam Jones to right field.

In fact, Showalter kept Jones in right field with Mullins out Sunday because he wants the veteran to get as used to that position as much as possible. The skipper used Craig Gentry in center field in place of Mullins on Sunday.

The Orioles are hoping the Mullins’ injury won’t be one that keeps him out for a long stretch as he’s already become a solid lead-off hitter.