MLB

Blue Jays-Orioles Preview

A little over a year ago, the Toronto Blue Jays had to watch the Baltimore Orioles celebrate a long-awaited division title at Camden Yards.

Their chance to exact some revenge has arrived.

With a magic number of two, the Blue Jays need a win over the Orioles and a little help Tuesday night to clinch their first AL East title in 22 years.

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Toronto had the misfortune of being the opposition when the Orioles wrapped up their first division title since 1997 with an 8-2 victory on Sept. 16, 2014.

The teams have reversed roles this season, with the Blue Jays (91-65) having already secured a playoff spot and on the verge of their first East crown since 1993. Baltimore (76-80), meanwhile, is battling for third place and needs to win its final six games to post its fourth straight winning season.

The Blue Jays rallied for their 35th comeback victory in Monday's series opener, scoring twice in the eighth and once in the ninth for a 4-3 win. Edwin Encarnacion hit his 36th home run for Toronto, which has won five in a row and will be hoping Boston can beat the second-place New York Yankees for a second consecutive night.

''We can win any way possible,'' said Justin Smoak, who knocked in the winning run with a slow roller to first. ''This team is unbelievable. Guys fight to the end.''

Also on the Blue Jays' agenda is finishing with the best record in the AL and securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They are one game ahead of Kansas City.

Baltimore's offensive woes continued Monday as all its scoring came on Ryan Flaherty's three-run homer in the second inning. The Orioles had been shut out in each loss during a three-game sweep to the Red Sox over the weekend, and have scored in only one of their last 37 innings.

''Part of that is you have to credit the other guy who is on the mound,'' catcher Matt Wieters said. ''We've had some tough pitchers."

Producing runs won't get any easier with Marcus Stroman (3-0, 1.89 ERA) on the mound for Toronto.

The right-hander has provided the Blue Jays with a huge boost since making his season debut this month. He's been outstanding in his past two starts, allowing one run and 11 hits over 14 innings in beating Boston and the Yankees. Stroman limited New York to five hits over seven innings in a 4-0 victory Wednesday.

''That was really the perfect game for him to pitch in,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''It was a big game, a real big game and he came through.''

The right-hander makes his first start against the Orioles since Sept. 15, 2014, when he threw at Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph, drawing a five-game suspension. Stroman pitched four scoreless innings in relief against the Orioles 11 days later to earn his first career save.

Miguel Gonzalez (9-11, 4.85) returns to the mound for Baltimore after missing a month with right shoulder tendinitis.

The right-hander is 0-5 with a 7.46 ERA in seven starts since his last win July 25. He lost his third consecutive start in his last appearance Aug. 30 at Texas.

Home wins have been even harder to come by for Gonzalez, who is 0-4 with a 6.81 ERA in seven outings at Camden Yards since May 19.

Gonzalez, though, will be facing one of his favorite opponents. He allowed one unearned run over 7 2-3 innings in a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays on May 13, improving to 5-0 with a 0.98 ERA in his last six meetings.

Encarnacion is just 3 for 25 in this matchup, but each of those hits left the park.