Baltimore won five of its seven series within the American League East entering its four-game set with Toronto, and it will have a chance to make that six of eight with a win Sunday. The Orioles are 13-11 in games within the division this season.
Despite Toronto sitting at the bottom of the AL East, the Blue Jays have the respect of Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who knows the importance of winning within the division.
"They spent their money very well on good players and developed good players," Showalter said. "Those people are very good at what they do in Toronto. Managing, front office, coaching, they do what they do. And that's why it is so gratifying if you can pull it off, because you know you are competing against the best in the world."
The Blue Jays will call on right-hander Chad Jenkins, making his second start of the season, to try to split the series. Because of the way the schedule has worked, Jenkins last pitched two weeks ago, when he allowed two earned runs on seven hits in five innings and earned the win over the Red Sox.
"We want to give Jenkins a shot at doing it. Take advantage of the opportunity and see what we got," manager John Gibbons said.
Gibbons also said Jenkins has continued to throw on the side to stay sharp, and he was even available out of the bullpen Saturday if the manager needed him. Gibbons added the long rest between starts is "not ideal," but Jenkins sounded up to the challenge.
"It's like I've said before, I did it last year," Jenkins said. "There was a couple of times where I had nine or 10 days off. It's tough, but at the same time you enjoy the rest while you have it."
Miguel Gonzalez will start for the Orioles on Sunday. He allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out five batters on May 21, his first outing off the 15-day disabled list.
Orioles: Johnson recalled to fortify bullpen
The Orioles recalled pitcher Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. Johnson had been starting for the Tides, but he pitched out of the Orioles bullpen Saturday, where he will likely remain while on the Major League club.
After starter Freddy Garcia lasted just five innings, Johnson picked up the slack with 2 2/3 frames, in which he struck out five batters and only walked one. He allowed two earned runs on three hits.
The right-hander was 1-2 in four starts for Norfolk, with 24 strikeouts and eight walks in 19 2/3 innings.
To make room on the 25-man roster for Johnson, Baltimore placed reliever Pedro Strop on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.
Blue Jays: Offense on a tear in May
Toronto's offense has averaged 5.67 runs per game through the first three games of the series, and Jose Bautista and Adam Lind are on a tear.
Each player has a batting average higher than .300 and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage higher than 1.000 in May. Bautista, who went 3-for-5 Saturday, raised his slash line for the month to .366/.489/.592.
Lind was also 3-for-5, raising his May slash line to .316/.385/.632.
• Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis has a 10-game hitting streak. He singled in the fourth inning Saturday to keep his streak alive.
• O's first baseman Chris Davis had another extra-base hit Saturday, lining an RBI double down the right-field line in the first inning. Davis leads with the Orioles with a .718 slugging percentage, the highest total for any batter that qualifies for the batting title. Baltimore as a team is slugging at a .456 clip, the best in baseball.
• Jenkins faced Baltimore once last season in his rookie campaign. He pitched 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen on August 25, when he surrendered four earned runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout.