Lefty Brian Matusz aims for a third straight Baltimore pitching gem - as well as his first win of the season - when the Orioles close out a three-game series with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Caamden Yards.
The hosts won the second straight in the series on Wednesday night when starter Jason Hammel pitched seven innings of four-hit ball and Wilson Betemit and Chris Davis homered in a 3-0 triumph.
After limiting Toronto to one run on Tuesday, Baltimore became the first team this season to shut out the Blue Jays. The Orioles are 4-1 against Toronto after going 6-12 last year.
Hammel (3-0) struck out seven and walked one in lowering his ERA to 1.73 over four starts. The right-hander came to Baltimore in February with reliever Matt Lindstrom in the trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado.
Lindstrom worked a perfect eighth and Pedro Strop got three outs for his second save in two nights as the replacement for closer Jim Johnson, who has been hospitalized since Monday with flu-like symptoms
Matusz, the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft, has dropped his initial three starts of 2012 while failing to last beyond 5 2/3 innings in any of the outings and posting a 7.98 earned run average.
He dropped a 9-2 verdict at Toronto on April 15 after giving up five runs on seven hits in the season-long 5 2/3-inning stint. He's 0-3 in four career starts against the Blue Jays with an ugly 13.09 ERA in 11 innings, allowing 21 hits and 16 runs.
The 25-year-old southpaw went an even five innings in his most recent start on April 20 in Anaheim and lost a 6-3 decision to the Angels.
For Toronto, rookie righty Drew Hutchison makes his second big-league start, five days after he defeated Kansas City in his initial outing.
The Blue Jays were 9-5 winners for the 21-year-old Lakeland, Fla. native, who was touched for eight hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Hutchison, a 15th-round draft pick in 2009, had never pitched above Double-A and threw 99 pitches against the Royals while becoming the first Toronto pitcher to win his big-league debut since Ricky Romero on April 9, 2009.
Toronto went 27-9 against Baltimore the previous two seasons, but the Orioles opened up this year's season series by taking two of three in Toronto.