(AP) — After dropping two straight road games, the Toronto Blue Jays have rebounded by continuing their success at Rogers Centre.
They’ll look to win nine straight at home for the first time in 17 seasons Friday night in the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles.
Toronto’s 11-game overall winning streak – which matched a franchise record – ended with back-to-back losses at Citi Field this week, but the club has regrouped nicely by outscoring the New York Mets 15-1 to win both home meetings that followed.
“It goes back to being a day-to-day process,” third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “You’ve got to go out there and prove you’re the better team.”
The Blue Jays (36-32) have batted .297 with a 57-19 run advantage in their last eight at home. They last won nine straight there Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 1998, to match the second-longest home streak in club history.
After R.A. Dickey tossed 7 1-3 strong innings in Thursday’s 7-1 win, Toronto starters have a 1.87 ERA in their last eight at Rogers Centre.
Though Marco Estrada (4-3, 4.24 ERA) has won three straight starts for the first time in his career, he hopes for a more efficient outing after yielding five runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings of Sunday’s 13-5 win at Boston.
The right-hander, who has benefited from 21 runs while on the mound in his last two starts, had completed at least six innings over his previous four.
In his second start since joining the rotation, Estrada gave up three runs on homers to Manny Machado and Chris Davis in five innings of a 5-2 loss at Baltimore on May 11.
Despite allowing 14 runs, Toronto swept a three-game home series from the Orioles (34-32) in April.
Machado is batting .407 (11 for 27) with three home runs, four doubles and eight RBIs in his last seven against the Blue Jays. He led off Thursday with a homer and added another hit, but the Orioles managed five total while losing for the third time in 14 games, 2-1 at Philadelphia.
“We’ve been playing good ball,” said Bud Norris, who allowed a two-run homer to Ryan Howard. “We’re trying to hit our stride.”
J.J. Hardy is 1 for 10 versus Toronto this season but is batting .390 during an 11-game hitting streak.
It’s uncertain if teammate Adam Jones will play after missing three straight with a shoulder injury. Though Jones has hit safely in 10 of 12, he’s 3 for 17 in his last four.
Looking to avoid losing a third consecutive start will be Mike Wright (2-2, 4.13), who didn’t yield a run over 14 1-3 innings to go 1-0 in his first two career starts last month but has an 8.36 ERA while losing two of his last three.
The right-hander has allowed five runs in each of his last two outings that sandwiched a brief trip to Triple-A Norfolk. He yielded six hits and walked three while throwing 104 pitches in five-plus innings of Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Yankees.
“It (stinks) whenever you walk three people,” Wright said. “I was throwing some good pitches and they kept fouling them off and kept battling.”
Donaldson is 11 for 26 with five RBIs in the last six at home, and hitting .324 with two homers and nine RBIs in nine overall versus Baltimore this season.
Teammate Kevin Pillar is 12 for 28 with five RBIs in the last seven contests.
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