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Baltimore at Toronto

Venue: Rogers Centre

Another solid outing from Zach Britton, and the Baltimore Orioles could possibly find themselves tied for first place in the AL East.

Looking to win a fourth straight start, Britton tries to lead the surging Orioles to a ninth win in 11 games Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

After taking two of three in Yankee Stadium over the weekend, Baltimore (75-59) continued to roll by snapping a four-game skid at Toronto with a 4-0 win Monday.

"I'm as proud of them (Monday) as I have been all year," manager Buck Showalter said. "That's a challenge."

Winners in 20 of 28 overall, the Orioles are one game behind first-place New York, which continues its series at Tampa this week. Looking for their first postseason berth since 1997, the Orioles also hold a 1 1/2-game lead on the Rays for the AL's second wild-card spot.

Pitching set the tempo Monday with Joe Saunders allowing Toronto's only three hits over 6 1-3 innings. Baltimore starters have posted a 1.89 ERA during a three-game winning streak against the Blue Jays (60-74).

"In the first game of series, you want to set the tone and really give your team a chance to win," Saunders told the Orioles' official website.

Britton (4-1, 4.80 ERA) has allowed three runs and struck out 21 over 21 2-3 innings while winning his last three starts. He gave up a run and set a career high with 10 strikeouts in eight innings of a 5-3 win over Chicago on Thursday.

After that contest, the Orioles optioned Britton to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for veteran Randy Wolf. However, Britton was recalled over the weekend when rosters expanded.

The left-hander improved to 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA against the Blue Jays after he gave up two runs and fanned six in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-4 win Aug. 24.

Toronto scheduled starter Carlos Villanueva (7-4, 3.10) allowed two of Chris Davis' three homers and two other runs over 5 2-3 innings of that loss to Britton.

Villanueva, 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA in four starts versus Baltimore, yielded five hits and struck out seven in six innings of a 2-0 home win over Tampa Bay on Thursday despite pitching with a low-grade fever.

"His changeup is really good and the slider I saw from him came out of his hand like a fastball," Tampa Bay outfielder Sam Fuld said. "That's the definition of good off-speed stuff, the stuff that looks like a fastball out of the hand."

Baltimore's J.J. Hardy, who went 2 for 5 with two RBIs on Monday, is 7 for 12 with three doubles and a home run versus Villanueva. He's hit .391 (9 for 23) with a home run and four RBIs in his last five games against the Blue Jays.

Adam Lind, Kelly Johnson and Adeiny Hechavarria each had a hit Monday for Toronto, which was shut out for the seventh time while losing its third consecutive contest after winning three in a row

Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion went 0 for 3 in the opener but is 2 for 4 with a double against Britton.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Zach Britton, LHP
2012 stats
45.0 Innings Pitched 98.2
4-1 Wins-Losses 7-4
4.80 Earned Run Average 3.10
21 Walks 38
38 Strikeouts 101
98 Pitches Per Start 94
Career vs. opponent
11.2 Innings Pitched 28.2
1-1 Wins-Losses 2-1
5.40 Earned Run Average 4.40

Carlos Villanueva, RHP
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Baltimore1st AL East9260.605-9-1 W 4
Toronto3rd AL East7776.50315 ½ 3-7 L 6
vs Carlos Villanueva
vs Zach Britton
Game Odds
Baltimore 105 Toronto -115
C. DavisSuspension
M. MachadoKnee
N. MarkakisShoulder
J. SantanaShoulder
M. WietersElbow
M. CabreraFinger
M. IzturisKnee
C. JenkinsHand
D. JohnsonHamstring
B. LawrieBack
Series Game Log
Apr 4TORNYY 7-3Tanaka McGowan 
Apr 5TORTOR 4-0Dickey Pineda 
Apr 6TORNYY 6-4Sabathia Hutchison 
Jun 17NYYNYY 3-1Tanaka Stroman 
Jun 18NYYNYY 7-3Whitley Buehrle 
Jun 19NYYNYY 6-4Phelps Hutchison 
Jun 23TORTOR 8-3Stroman Whitley 
Jun 24TORTOR 7-6Janssen Warren 
Jun 25TORNYY 5-3Kuroda Hutchison 
Jul 25NYYNYY 6-4Kuroda Buehrle 
Jul 26NYYTOR 6-4Hutchison Kelley 
Jul 27NYYTOR 5-4Sanchez Robertson 
Aug 29TORNYY 6-3Capuano Buehrle 
Aug 30TORTOR 2-0Hutchison Pineda 
Aug 31TORTOR 4-3Happ McCarthy 
Sep 18NYYNYY 3-2Robertson Sanchez 
Sep 19NYYNYY 5-3  
Sep 20NYY 4:05 PM EDT  
Sep 21NYY 1:05 PM EDT