The Toronto Blue Jays are finally starting to live up to preseason expectations.
On Friday, they turn to one of their top pitching prospects, as left-hander Sean Nolin makes his big league debut in the second of four games against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre.
Nolin suffered a strained groin in spring training, but has showed no ill effects from the injury at Double-A New Hampshire, where he was 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts.
"He's got the stuff to do it," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "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."
Toronto won for the third time in four tries in Thursday's opener, as Edwin Encarnacion's fifth career grand slam helped the Blue Jays to a 12-6 triumph. J.P. Arencibia added a two-run homer and four RBI for the Blue Jays, who have won seven of 10.
"Edwin hitting that ball to give us some breathing room it makes the game, definitely not easier, but definitely a little more relaxing," said Arencibia.
Brandon Morrow (2-3) picked up the win and allowed six runs on 10 hits while striking out five over seven-plus innings.
Manny Machado hit three doubles and knocked in two runs for the Orioles, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Chris Davis all hit solo homers.
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman (0-1), making his MLB debut, gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out five over five innings. Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, went 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA in eight starts with Double-A Bowie this season.
"He gave us a chance to win against a team swinging the bat as hot as anybody," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Getting the call for the Orioles on Friday will be righty Chris Tillman, who is 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA. Tillman absorbed the loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, as he was reached for three runs and five hits in six innings.
"Pitching wasn't the issue today," Showalter said after that loss
Tillman has faced the Blue Jays six times and is 1-2 against them with a 3.89 ERA.
Baltimore took two of three from the Jays earlier in the year.