Kendrys Morales overcame a sluggish start to August by finishing the month with a flourish as he launched three homers and recorded a career-high seven RBIs in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 11-8 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. The 34-year-old Morales aims to build off that momentum in the new month starting on Friday, as the Blue Jays look to take the first two contests of their four-game series in Baltimore.
Morales hit safely in seven of nine games before Thursday’s uprising but is just 1-for-10 lifetime versus Friday starter Kevin Gausman. While Toronto put a halt to its four-game skid with its third victory in 13 contests, Baltimore saw its season-high seven-game winning streak come to an end and fell 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the American League. Tim Beckham collected three singles to hit safely in 10 straight contests and 27 of 29 since joining the Orioles from Tampa Bay at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Adam Jones homered to extend his hitting streak to eight games and is 4-for-8 in his career against Friday starter Joe Biagini.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Toronto), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Joe Biagini (3-9, 5.40 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (10-9, 4.98)
Minnesota treated Biagini rudely on Sunday after he was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, shredding him for five runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. “I thought he may have been overthrowing a little bit because his ball was definitely up in the zone. They barreled it pretty good,” manager John Gibbons told reporters regarding the 27-year-old. Biagini recorded four scoreless relief outings versus Baltimore before permitting three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-1 setback against the Orioles on June 27.
Gausman authored one of his best starts of the season on Saturday, when he scattered four hits over 7 2/3 dominant innings of a 7-0 rout at Boston. “We’re still playing meaningful games right now,” the 26-year-old told reporters. “We need - not just me, but all the starters - to really kind of pick it up.” Gausman has picked it up against Toronto this season, posting a 2-0 record in four starts while yielding just five runs and 24 hits.
1. Baltimore 2B Jonathan Schoop has hit safely in four straight games and 17 of his last 19.
2. Blue Jays CF Kevin Pillar recorded two hits in the series opener and is 15-for-46 against the Orioles this season.
3. Baltimore 3B Manny Machado is 7-for-16 with two homers, three RBIs and four runs scored in his last four games.
PREDICTION: Orioles 6, Blue Jays 2