If the Orioles are going to avoid a sweep, their fourth straight loss and falling out of first on Wednesday in Toronto, it'll be up to Jason Hammel. Fortunately for Baltimore, they couldn't ask for a better stopper.
Hammel hopes to continue to deliver winning performances against the Blue Jays. On the season, Hammel is 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA, and the Orioles are 7-2 in games he's started. His last outing was one of his best of the season. He pitched six scoreless innings against the Royals, striking out seven batters to lead the Orioles to an 8-2 win.
Hammel has faced the Blue Jays twice this season, and he's flourished. In two starts, he's 1-0 and has surrendered just two runs in 12 innings. Wednesday's game will be the second appearance of the year for Hammel at Rogers Centre. He started in a 6-4 win for the Orioles on April 14. He didn't pick up a decision, but he gave up just two runs over five innings.
While Hammel is cruising so far this season, his Wednesday opponent, Brandon Morrow, is looking to bounce back from a rough outing. He didn't make it out of the first inning last time out against Texas, surrendering six runs in just two-thirds of an inning. It was the third time this season Morrow has given up six runs in a game. It also ended an impressive streak of five-straight games with at least seven strikeouts.
"I would think [Morrow's last outing] is more just one you put to the side, you move on and prepare for Wednesday," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "There was a combination of things. It was location, or missed location, along with maybe the inability to get away with some mistakes where he has had that ability where he has his best fastball."
His last outing notwithstanding, Morrow typically lasts long into games. He leads baseball with a pair of shutouts.
Orioles: Jones extends streak
Outfielder Adam Jones had a big night on Tuesday against Toronto. He was 3-for-3 with two home runs and two walks. He scored three runs and drove three runs in. He also extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the first time an Orioles player has had a 20-game hit streak since Brian Roberts did it in May 2005. Jones has been on fire during the streak, batting .358 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs. The two home runs Tuesday gave him 16 long balls on the season, moving him into a tie for second place in the American League.
The Orioles shook up the roster on Tuesday, activating outfielder Endy Chavez from the disabled list and calling up pitcher Miguel Gonzalez. Chavez had been on the DL since May 9 with an oblique strain. Both players appeared in Tuesday's game. Gonzalez pitched 3 1/3 innings in his Major League debut, allowing one run and striking out five.
In corresponding roster moves, outfielder Xavier Avery and pitcher Tommy Hunter were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Blue Jays: McCoy recalled
The Blue Jays recalled infielder Mike McCoy from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday. McCoy has appeared in 138 big league games over the last three seasons, including a career-high 80 last year with Toronto, and has a career .194 batting average.
Outfielder Eric Thames was optioned to Las Vegas in the corresponding roster move. Thames hit .243 with three home runs in 46 games for the Blue Jays this season.
Edwin Encarnacion had his seven-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday, as he went 0-for-3 in the win over Baltimore. He was hitting .333 (10-for-30) with three home runs and seven RBIs heading into Tuesday's game, and although he was hitless, he still walked and scored a run.
Encarnacion has hit 12 home runs against Baltimore in his career. No other team has surrendered more long balls to the Toronto DH.
Jones has feasted against Morrow over the course of his career. He has picked up eight hits in 20 at-bats, including a pair of home runs and six RBIs. Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has also hit two home runs off Morrow in his career.