American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, September 4th (All times Eastern)
Baltimore Orioles (75-59) at Toronto Blue Jays (60-74), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Zach Britton (4-1, 4.80) Toronto - Carlos Villanueva (7-4, 3.10)
(Sports Network) - Second-year lefty Zach Britton faces the Toronto Blue Jays for the second time in two weeks tonight when the Baltimore Orioles visit Rogers Centre for the second of three games.
Britton, an 11-game winner last season as a rookie, dropped his lone meeting with the Blue Jays in 2011 after allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks in five innings.
He evened his record against them at 1-1 on Aug. 24, when he surrendered two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-4 victory.
Britton was 1-1 in his initial five starts of this season, but has won three straight - against Detroit, Toronto and the Chicago White Sox - while combining to allow 17 hits and just three runs in 21 2/3 innings.
He opened the 2012 season with 11 appearances on two levels of the minor leagues and went 5-2 in 63 1/3 innings with a 4.12 earned run average.
Toronto starts right-handed reliever-turned-starter Carlos Villanueva, who makes his 12th start in his 34th appearance of the season.
The 28-year-old Dominican was a 2-0 winner over the Tampa Bay Rays in his most recent start on Aug. 30 after tossing six scoreless innings of five-hit ball.
He had dropped four decisions in his previous five outings dating back to late July, when he was 6-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his initial 27 outings.
Villanueva dropped a 6-4 decision to Baltimore in his last meeting against the Orioles on Aug. 24 after giving up four runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
In seven career games against them, he's 2-1 with a hold and a 4.40 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.
On Monday, Joe Saunders' second start as an Oriole went much better than his first.
Saunders pitched into the seventh inning and the Orioles took the opening game of a three-game series against the Blue Jays, 4-0.
Saunders (1-1), who gave up seven runs - six earned - in 5 1/3 innings after coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks, gave up three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He did not allow a base runner until surrendering a two-out single in the sixth inning.
"Pitchers are creatures of habit," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's getting back in a routine."
Nick Markakis doubled home a run and scored to send the O's to their eighth win in their last 10 games. The Orioles are now a game behind the New York Yankees for the AL East lead, and own one of the final two Wild Card spots.
J.A. Happ (3-2) had a string of three straight winning decisions snapped after giving up three runs - two earned - on six hits with nine strikeouts in five- plus innings.
"He's got good late life," Showalter said. "He bent, but he didn't break. He gave them a chance to win today.
"I was trying to be pretty selective with the pitches I threw to keep us in the game the best I could," Happ said. "Unfortunately, they chased me out of there quicker than I would have liked."
The Orioles won seven of the first 11 games between the teams in 2012, including a sweep of a two-game set in Baltimore on Aug. 24-25. Toronto won the 2011 season series, 12 games to six.
09/04 10:34:17 ET