Guthrie, Orioles take final shot at victory

Guthrie, Orioles take final shot at victory

BALTIMORE -- One more game, then lock it up. The Orioles and Blue Jays will finish their respective seasons on Sunday at Camden Yards, and Baltimore will be able to tie the season series with a victory. The Orioles have won three successive games for the first time since sweeping Philadelphia in mid-June, and they are hoping to finish on another strong note.

Jeremy Guthrie will get the ball for Baltimore, and he'll be matched against rookie Ricky Romero. The Orioles will be playing to avoid surpassing their highest loss total in 20 years. Baltimore is currently tied with the 2001 team at 98 losses, and the current hot streak helped the Orioles avoid just the third 100-loss season in franchise history.

"We don't have to talk about it," said manager Dave Trembley. "We don't have to consider that any longer. I didn't think that was particularly prominent, although nobody wants to have to deal with something like that."

Trembley later said that the difference between 98 and 100 losses is basically "the same thing as hitting .298 or .300." In other words, it's just a statistical threshold, more than anything else. With that said, Trembley also knows that his team -- and his job -- will be measured on wins and losses in the immediate future.

Baltimore's bats are waking up in the last few moments of the season, and the Orioles have nine extra-base hits in their past two games. By contrast, they had just four extra-base hits in the three games before that. Strangely enough, the Orioles are 6-1 at home and 1-8 on the road against Toronto this season.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (10-17, 5.05)
Guthrie will get the ball in the season finale. The right-hander has fulfilled a season goal by making all of his rotation turns this season, and he's 7 2/3 innings away from breaking 200 for the first time in his career. Guthrie leads the American League in losses, home runs (32) and earned runs (108) allowed, but he'll try to finish strong.

TOR: LHP Ricky Romero (13-9, 4.26)
Romero cracked the win column for the first time in five career starts against the Red Sox last Tuesday, scattering seven hits over five innings. The southpaw's 13 wins are the second most by a rookie in club history, one shy of Mark Eichhorn's 14 in 1986. In three appearances against the Orioles this season, Romero is 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA.

Bird bites
The Orioles are 20-32 in series openers this season and 17-34 in series finales. ... Baltimore is 41-36 when it scores first and 22-62 when its opponent draws first blood. ... Brian Roberts now has three seasons with at least 25 steals, 50 doubles, 70 walks and 100 runs scored. Only four other players since 1900 -- Tris Speaker, Craig Biggio, Kiki Cuyler and Bobby Abreu -- have done that, and they've all done it just once. ... Baltimore is 16-19 at home against American League East teams and 7-29 on the road against division rivals. .. The Orioles are 51-17 when they outhit their opponents and 8-73 when they get outhit. ... The Orioles are 56-38 when they score at least four runs and 7-60 when they score less than four. ... Baltimore is 49-53 when it hits at least one home run during the game.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.