video thumbnail

COL@TOR: Johnson fans 10 over 7 1/3 shutout frames

BALTIMORE -- Toronto enters Sunday's series finale with the Orioles scorching hot and looking for a three-game sweep.

The Blue Jays, winners of 10 in a row and now one game above .500 on the season, have had the upper hand in head-to-head matchups with the Orioles lately. They're especially tough on Baltimore at the Rogers Centre.

With Saturday's win, Toronto has now won the season series at Rogers Centre eight consecutive times, going 51-19 over that time. Friday's walk-off victory was particularly thrilling for the Blue Jays and their fans, and it was the second time Toronto earned a walk-off victory over the Orioles this season.

"Our guys don't like losing, their guys don't, either. That's why it's so fascinating to play a game to see which [team will win], which talent wins," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I like watching good people compete."

Showalter has sung Toronto's praises this season -- even when the team was struggling -- and he doesn't sound surprised by their recent 10-game winning streak.

"[The Blue Jays are] a good team. It was a given they were going to play better," Showalter said.

"It's a given that they are hot coming in. It's a given they have a good pitching staff. Look what they paid, they should be getting a return for all the money they spent. They made some good deals, I guess. They paid well for them, and Toronto deserves that."

The Orioles entered Saturday's game still unsure about Sunday's starter.

Freddy Garcia is the most likely candidate. He most recently pitched on Wednesday, throwing a scoreless inning of relief in Detroit against the Tigers.

Garcia faced Toronto earlier this season, picking up his first win of the year by throwing five innings of three-run ball on May 25 at Rogers Centre.

In 10 games this season, including nine starts, the 37-year-old is 3-4 with a 4.80 ERA. He's had a few great starts for the Orioles, but has been inconsistent.

In his most recent start, Garcia gave up five earned runs on two homers in 5 1/3 innings on June 15 in a loss to the Red Sox.

Toronto will counter with Josh Johnson, who is coming off his best start as a Blue Jay. Johnson pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up only five hits and two walks vs. the Rockies on Monday. He also struck out 10 batters, all of them of the swing-and-miss variety.

Blue Jays: Reyes' return could force tough call
• With Jose Reyes (left ankle) scheduled to play three full games at shortstop this weekend for Triple-A Buffalo, his return appears directly on the horizon.

Activating Reyes from the disabled list could force a tough 25-man roster decision for the club.

His replacement, Munenori Kawasaki, has become a favorite among his peers, and has filled in capably at shortstop.

Still, he may be sent down in a numbers crunch. Toronto may also elect to demote a bullpen arm, giving the team seven relievers and a four-man bench.

Orioles: Davis gets another day at DH
• Chris Davis got another partial rest on Saturday, occupying the DH spot for the Orioles. With the way he's crushing the ball offensively, though, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has kept his bat in the lineup -- even while giving his legs a brief reprieve.

With first baseman Travis Ishikawa remaining with the big league club, Showalter has used Davis at DH twice in four days, and the team had an off-day in that span, as well.

Davis, who has played in all but one of the team's games this season, had played exclusively at first base before Wednesday.

Worth noting
• Orioles reliever Steve Johnson (oblique) played catch on Saturday for the first time since suffering the injury. The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since June 6, threw 25 times from 60 feet.

• Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen (oblique) will throw four innings in a simulated game on Monday before he begins a rehab assignment. The lefty threw a light side session on Saturday, which went well, according to Showalter.

• The Blue Jays have hit nine home runs through five games of their six-game homestand.

MLB.com Comments