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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, August 7 (All times Eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (64-49) at Toronto Blue Jays (61-54), 7:07 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Miguel Gonzalez (5-6, 3.93) Toronto - J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.25)

(SportsNetwork.com) - J.A. Happ tries to get the Toronto Blue Jays even closer in the American League East on Thursday when they play the rubber match of their three-game series against the division-leading Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre.

Happ has quietly put together a solid season for the Jays and has been terrific since the All-Star break, surrendering just three earned runs. Happ did not get a decision on Friday in Houston, but pitched well, allowing just a run and three hits in seven innings.

"I think the goal is to try to stay healthy and get out there," said Happ, who is 8-5 with a 4.34 ERA. "I felt like I could help contribute. Just trying to stay there and give this thing a good shot, these next two months."

Happ has faced the Orioles five times (4 starts) and is 1-1 against them with a 2.45 ERA.

Toronto gained a game on the O's Wednesday thanks to a terrific showing from righty Drew Hutchison. Hutchison gave up one run on one hit over 8 2/3 innings in the Blue Jays' 5-1 win.

The only hit Hutchison (8-9) allowed was a solo homer to Chris Davis in the second inning. He then retired the next 22 batters he faced before walking Nick Markakis with two outs in the ninth.

"I don't think it's any surprise. He's certainly capable of doing what he did tonight," Jose Bautista said about Hutchison.

Casey Janssen was called upon to get the final out of the contest. Hutchison struck out eight and walked one.

Bautista went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI for the Blue Jays, who snapped a four-game skid and moved within four games of Baltimore for first place in the AL East.

Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen (12-4) saw his five-start winning streak come to an end, losing for the first time since June 28. He gave up four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts over five innings.

"I think everyone in the lineup still feels good," said Davis. "We've had games where we're really swinging the bat well. We know that's not going to last every night. You run into pitchers who are on top of their game."

Getting the call for the O's on Thursday will be right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who is 5-6 with a 3.93 ERA. Gonzalez was awful on Saturday in a loss to Seattle, as he surrendered four runs and seven hits in five innings.

"We've just got to go out there and try to do our best," Gonzalez said following his last start. "We've been doing a pretty good job. Everyone's been going deep in ballgames except for tonight's game, but it's going to happen. We can't be perfect all of the time."

Gonzalez is 4-2 in nine games (8 starts) versus the Blue Jays with a 3.02 ERA.

The O's have split six matchups with the Jays this season.

08/07 10:40:54 ET