Sports

Orioles hope to avoid sweep in Toronto

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles look to avoid a fourth straight loss and a sweep against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at Rogers Centre.

The Orioles have lost three in a row after winning four of five games, and dropped a 4-2 decision to the Blue Jays on Wednesday. After taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning on Jimmy Paredes's home run, Toronto went ahead for good with a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Justin Smoak cracked a two-run homer in the fourth inning, then Devon Travis belted a two-run shot in the fifth off Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who lasted five innings and fell to 1-1 on the season. Jimenez struck out six and walked three batters.

Jays starter Aaron Sanchez did not fare much better in the win, but was able to work out of trouble. He only allowed two hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings, and walked seven batters.

"It was a battle for him, especially early," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Sanchez. "Even though he walked those guys, I thought he looked more confident."

Baltimore is 2-4 on a seven-game road trip and will return to Camden Yards this weekend for a nine-game stay versus Boston, Chicago (White Sox) and Tampa Bay.

Chris Tillman gets the call for the O's Thursday and is 2-1 with a 5.52 earned run average in three starts. Tillman threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his season debut on April 6 at the Rays, then was shelled for seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings on April 12 versus Toronto.

Tillman bounced back in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Red Sox and yielded a run over 5 1/3 innings. In 15 career starts against the AL East-rival Blue Jays, Tillman has a 4-7 record and a 4.68 ERA.

The Blue Jays have won three of four games and are 4-5 on a 10-game homestand.

Toronto, which will start a 10-game trek this weekend against Tampa Bay, Boston and Cleveland, hopes Drew Hutchison can pitch the club to a sweep of the Orioles this evening.

Hutchison is 1-0 with a lofty 7.20 ERA in three starts and has recorded two straight no-decisions. In last Friday's 8-7 loss to Atlanta, Hutchison was reached for five runs -- four earned -- in 4 2/3 innings. He has given up 11 earned runs in the past two outings.

The right-handed Hutchison was rocked by Baltimore for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 10-7 win on April 12 at Camden Yards. He has made nine career starts against the Orioles, going 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA.

The Blue Jays won two of three against the Orioles from April 10-12.