The Baltimore Orioles have a chance to make the American League wild-card race squeaky tight Wednesday night as they go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
The upstart Orioles have moved within two games of the Blue Jays, who occupy the first wild-card spot.
The Orioles have clinched their three-game series with the Blue Jays with 7-4 and 6-5 wins the first two games on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. They won Tuesday on Rougned Odor’s two-run, go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth against Yimi Garcia.
The game was delayed by rain for 78 minutes in the sixth inning.
Baltimore has won four of six games from the Blue Jays this season with 13 games between the teams remaining in the regular season.
“(The Orioles) are obviously playing really well, and they’ve made some pretty big improvements,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said. “They have a couple of young, exciting players. I think gone are the days where you can say the AL East is owned by one (team). So we’re taking this series just like we’d take on anyone else, and it’s going to be competitive.”
Toronto is 3-5 on a nine-game trip that will end on Wednesday.
The Blue Jays had two home runs and four RBIs from Bo Bichette on Tuesday.
Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was 1-for-5 to extend his hit streak to a career-best 20 games. He is batting .386 (32-for-83) during the streak. He is 2-for-10 in the series.
Right-hander Dean Kremer (4-3, 3.43 ERA) will start for Baltimore on Wednesday. He is 0-1 with an 11.32 ERA in three career starts against Toronto. He earned his fourth win of the season on Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates with 6 1/3 shutout innings. He retired 14 straight batters from the second to the seventh innings
Right-hander Jose Berrios (8-4, 5.19) will start for Toronto. In nine career starts against Baltimore, he is 6-0 with a 3.05 ERA.
Berrios faced Baltimore on June 15 in Toronto, allowing three earned runs on three hits over seven innings. He did nor factor into the decision in Toronto’s 7-6 win in 10 innings.
Austin Hays, who singled in the eighth inning before Odor’s 11th home run of the season, was playing his second game after missing four games because of a sore left oblique muscle.
“The closer we get to the end of the year, every game matters a little bit more,” Hays said. “It’s felt that way the last couple of months. When we realized that we had our first winning month and we did it again the next month, we could see where this team was.
“We’re going out expecting to win every game. We’ve been in this mindset the last couple of months, and we’re continuing to play good baseball.”
Toronto signed outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. on Tuesday as outfield depth with George Springer on the injured list with elbow inflammation. Bradley was released by the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. He entered the game Tuesday in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in center field.
Toronto optioned infielder Otto Lopez to Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, and right-hander Matt Peacock was designated for assignment.
–Field Level Media
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