Though the Toronto Blue Jays are still last in the AL East, they've managed to surge a bit near the end of May.
With one of their prized pitching prospects set to make his major league debut, the Blue Jays look for a third straight victory Friday night against the visiting Baltimore Orioles .
After losing 21 of its first 31, Toronto (20-27) has won 10 of 16, including seven of the last 10 following a 12-6 victory over Baltimore on Thursday. Edwin Encarnacion hit his fifth career grand slam and J.P. Arencibia added a homer with four RBIs as the Blue Jays scored at least 10 runs for the fourth time in seven home contests.
The Blue Jays have batted .314 and averaged 8.1 runs while winning six of seven at home.
Encarnacion is hitting .382 (13 for 34) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in his last nine games. Five of Encarnacion's eight hits in his last 26 at-bats against Baltimore (25-22) have been home runs. He's recorded 12 RBIs during that stretch.
Arencibia has hit .542 (13 for 24) with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last eight against the Orioles.
The Blue Jays hope to stay hot behind left-hander Sean Nolin, who will make his major league debut Friday. Despite a groin strain suffered during spring training, the 6-foot-5 Nolin was 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts for Double-A New Hampshire.
"He's got the stuff to do it," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. "He's pitching in a nice little groove, and we need somebody.
"He's a very mature kid, he carries himself well. He can handle that."
Nolin faces a Baltimore team that has dropped seven of nine.
Davis is batting .365 with six home runs, six doubles and 14 RBIs in the last 13 games. He has 10 homers in his last 20 games against the Blue Jays.
Among the major league leaders with a .330 batting average, Machado is 9 for 17 (.529) with five doubles and four RBIs in four career games at Toronto.
Keeping the ball in the park has been a bit of a challenge of late for scheduled Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (3-2, 3.52 ERA), who has allowed five home runs in three starts after he gave up three in the first six.
The right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in his five previous five starts before he allowed three runs, two homers and three other hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Tillman has yielded eight home runs while going 1-2 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts versus Toronto. However, he gave up a run in 6 2-3 innings but did not factor in the decision of a 2-1 home win over the Blue Jays on April 22.
|May 13, 2013||Wei-Yin Chen||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 12, 2013||Nolan Reimold||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 12, 2013||Wei-Yin Chen||Day-to-Day||Right oblique strain|
|May 04, 2013||Miguel Gonzalez||15-Day DL||Right thumb blister|
|May 04, 2013||Miguel Gonzalez||15-Day DL||Right thumb blister|
|May 03, 2013||Chris Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee soreness|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|May 11, 2013||Rajai Davis||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|May 10, 2013||Rajai Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained oblique|
|May 08, 2013||J.A. Happ||15-Day DL||Head contusion|
|April 29, 2013||Josh Johnson||15-Day DL||Right triceps inflammation|
|April 22, 2013||Maicer Izturis||Day-to-Day||Sore hamstring|
|April 14, 2013||Sergio Santos||60-Day DL||Right triceps strain|
TORONTO (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles are bashing home runs at an impressive rate right now.
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 16th homer and Baltimore beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-6 on Friday night.
J.J. Hardy, Danny Valencia and Adam Jones also went deep as the Orioles matched a season high in runs and set a season high with four home runs. Baltimore has hit an ML-best 66 homers this season.
"When we got a ball over the plate it seemed like we didn't miss it," said Baltimore's Nick Markakis , who had three hits and three RBIs.
The Orioles have hit at least three homers in each of the past four games, their first such streak since a five-game run in August 1996.
That year, the Orioles finished with eight double-digit home run hitters and set a baseball record with 257 homers.
While this Baltimore squad might not be on pace to match those lofty marks, there's still plenty of power.
"They didn't miss anything," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
The teams combined for 33 hits, 16 by Baltimore and 17 by Toronto.
"It was pinball out there tonight," Gibbons said.
Chris Tillman (4-2) allowed three runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings to win for the fourth time in six starts. He walked none and matched a season high with seven strikeouts.
"The key was Tillman not walking anybody," said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. "You've got to make them earn it."
The Orioles walked eight batters in Thursday's 12-6 loss.
Brian Matusz got two outs in the sixth, Tommy Hunter pitched 2 1-3 innings and Darren O'Day finished in the ninth.
Toronto lost for the first time this season when scoring five runs or more, falling to 15-1 in those games. The Blue Jays set a dubious franchise record by allowing the first three batters of an inning to reach safely in three consecutive frames, doing so in the first, second and third.
Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia was the only starter on either side who didn't reach safely via a hit or walk. He went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
Melky Cabrera , Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind all hit solo homers for the Blue Jays, but Lawrie and Gibbons were ejected at the end of the third.
Blue Jays left-hander Sean Nolin was hit hard in his major league debut, allowing six runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings. Called up from Double-A to face the Orioles, Nolin (0-1) suffered his first loss since Aug. 27, 2011, when he was pitching for Class A Lansing.
"Definitely not the way I envisioned it," a red-eyed Nolin said. "I think I just had too much energy going. I kind of felt like I already threw a few innings, kind of wasted some gas without doing anything."
Gibbons agreed that Nolin didn't seem to have his best stuff.
"It was a tough go for him, no question," Gibbons said. "Arencibia told me everything was kind of flat, flat in the zone."
Optioned back to the minors after the game, Nolin put his team in a hole before recording his first out. After singles by Markakis and Manny Machado , Hardy hit a three-run drive to left, his ninth.
Cabrera got one run back with his first career leadoff homer and second of the season in the bottom half, but the Orioles chased Nolin with three more in the third. A double, a walk and a single loaded the bases for Markakis, who cleared them with a double.
Lawrie led off the bottom of the second with his fifth home run and Colby Rasmus doubled and scored on Emilio Bonifacio 's single, but the Orioles added to their lead in the fourth against Ramon Ortiz .
Davis led off with a second deck homer, his third in three games and fourth in five. Two batters later, Valencia hit his first homer, a two-run drive.
Jones made it 10-3 with a leadoff homer off Brad Lincoln in the sixth, but the Blue Jays scored twice against Matusz in the bottom half. Munenori Kawasaki hit an RBI double and scored on Cabrera's single.
Lind cut it to 10-6 with an opposite field homer off Hunter in the seventh, his fourth.
Lawrie was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Bellino after he was called out looking to strand runners at the corners in the third. Lawrie flipped his bat and tossed his helmet and gloves on the ground as he walked up the third base line toward his position, leading to his first ejection this season.
"I didn't do anything," Lawrie said. "I didn't say one word to him, not one, I didn't look at him one time and I'm in trouble for that."
Bellino warned Lawrie about an equipment violation before the ejection, but Lawrie said he didn't hear it over the noise of the crowd. Crew chief Wally Bell said Lawrie was ejected because for throwing his gloves "in a way that wasn't etiquette in baseball."
Gibbons was tossed for the third time when he came out to argue.
"Next time he's got to throw his gloves in the other direction, I guess," Gibbons said.
NOTES: For Machado, it was his fifth straight road game with at least three hits. He's just the second player younger than 21 to do so, joining Hall of Famer Ty Cobb , who did it in 1907, according to information from the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Mark DeRosa replaced Lawrie. ... Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy , who was shut down last month because of elbow pain, reported full range of motion and no pain in his arm during an examination Friday. Bundy is not yet ready to resume throwing. ... Baltimore's Adam Jones returned to the outfield after three straight starts at DH. ... To make room on the roster for Nolin, the Blue Jays placed LHP Darren Oliver (shoulder) on the 15-day DL and moved LHP J.A. Happ (head, knee) from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. ... Toronto will make another move Saturday to replace Nolin.