Blue Jays hope to avoid sweep by Orioles in Drabek's debut

Sports Network
9/15/2010 12:48:47 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Toronto Blue Jays have had their way with the Baltimore Orioles throughout most of this 2010 season, but they're finding their American League East rival to be a much tougher opponent as of late.

The improved Orioles take aim at a series sweep of the slumping Blue Jays, who'll send out prized prospect Kyle Drabek for his major league debut in tonight's finale of this three-game set from Camden Yards.

Toronto had outscored Baltimore by a whopping 70-23 margin in winning the first 12 meetings between the clubs this season, but the Orioles have reigned supreme thus far in this series. After coming through with a 4-3 decision in 11 innings in Monday's opener, Buck Showalter's squad broke out the heavy lumber in recording an 11-3 rout of the Jays last night.

Adam Jones went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI to lead Baltimore's 16-hit attack, while Roberto Andino also collected two hits and knocked in three runs to help the O's to their eighth victory in 10 games. Matt Wieters added three hits, including a run-scoring single, while Felix Pie finished 2-for-3 with two RBI on the night.

Baltimore also received an excellent outing from starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (6-6), with the rookie yielding just four hits and a walk while striking out five over six shutout innings.

"Jake's been like that all year," Andino told the Orioles' official site. "He's a solid pitcher. He was keeping us in the game down [in Triple-A], he's keeping us in the game up here. He's giving us a chance to win."

Up 3-0 after 6 1/2 innings, the Orioles broke open the game by scoring six times in the bottom of the seventh. Jones and Wieters began the outburst with back-to-back RBI singles, and Andino capped the big inning with a three-run double.

Aaron Hill accounted for all of Toronto's offense by belting a three-run homer in the top of the eighth, extending the Blue Jays' current streak of 16 consecutive games with a home run.

Toronto has now lost six of its last seven tests and fell to 4-9 in September. With the club well out of the AL pennant race, it'll take a look towards the future and give Drabek an opportunity to prove himself at the major league level tonight.

Considered the top arm in the Blue Jays system, Drabek was one of the key pieces obtained by Toronto in the blockbuster offseason trade that sent former staff ace Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. The former Phillies' first-round pick has so far looked to be a nice catch for the organization, having amassed a 14-9 record and a 2.94 earned run average in 27 starts for Double-A New Hampshire.

The 22-year-old son of former National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek logged 162 innings with the Fisher Cats and registered 132 strikeouts while limiting the opposition to a .215 average.

Brad Bergesen will toe the rubber for the Orioles tonight and will be out to maintain his strong second-half form. The right-hander is 3-1 with an impressive 2.62 ERA over his last eight starts and pitched into the seventh inning on all but two of those occasions, while allowing two earned runs or less six times over that span as well.

Bergesen pitched well again in a tough-luck no-decision at Yankee Stadium on September 8, holding AL East-leading New York to a run and four hits over 6 1/3 innings.

On the flip side, the second-year big leaguer was torched for eight runs and 10 hits in five innings of a loss to the Blue Jays on July 26, with Hill, Jose Bautista and Adam Lind all homering off him that night. Bergesen has also struggled at Camden Yards this season, bringing a 3-5 record with a subpar 5.59 ERA in 15 home appearances (13 starts) into tonight's clash.

In five career starts against Toronto, Bergesen is just 1-2 with a 6.99 ERA.


Kyle Drabek (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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