The visiting Cleveland Guardians will shoot for their seventh consecutive victory Saturday afternoon in the middle game of a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays, and they could assure themselves of a series win as well.
The Guardians have won four of their first five games against the Blue Jays this season following an 8-0 victory on Friday, when right-hander Cal Quantrill surrendered just one hit in seven innings.
The Guardians won three of four when the teams met in Cleveland in early May.
The Blue Jays lost their third straight on Friday and took their fifth defeat in six contests. The Guardians, who lead the American League Central by 1 1/2 games over the Minnesota Twins, own the AL's longest active win streak.
"I think that we're here to stay," Quantrill said. "I don't think it's a fluke. We know how to win baseball games, and we're kind of a complete baseball team."
The Blue Jays were outhit 14-3 on Friday in the opener of a six-game homestand that follows a 3-5 road trip.
Right-hander Triston McKenzie (8-8, 3.16 ERA) will pitch Saturday for Cleveland. Toronto will start right-hander Mitch White (1-3, 3.86).
McKenzie is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays. White has not faced the Guardians.
The series opener was a big game for two Guardians players who grew up in the Toronto area -- Quantrill and Josh Naylor.
Quantrill, the son of former Blue Jays pitcher Paul Quantrill, is from Port Hope. Ontario. His seven strikeouts matched a season best.
Quantrill has not allowed a run in his past two starts, a span of 13 innings. The Guardians have won each of his past seven starts with Quantrill getting five wins.
Naylor, who is from Mississauga, Ontario, hit a two-run home run on Friday.
"It's awesome," Naylor said. "This is where we kind of grew up playing baseball. We decided our paths here in Canada and we stuck with it, we grinded. It's tough being a Canadian coming up through baseball, but when you work hard, anything is possible."
Jose Ramirez hit a three-run homer for Cleveland and also had a sacrifice fly. He has 29 RBIs in his past 30 games.
The only baserunner Quantrill allowed was Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who hit a fourth-inning double to extend his career-best hitting streak to 21 games. It is Toronto's longest hit streak since Edwin Encarnacion's 26-game run in 2015.
Guerrero is batting .379 (33-for-87) during his streak with nine doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs.
Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios allowed eight runs on eight hits in four innings on Friday, raising his ERA to 5.61.
"Tonight he was real good early and stuff was sharp, and then he couldn't just put hitters away," Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said. "That has kind of been the theme for him. When he does miss, he's not being let off the hook. When he's getting hit, they are not missing. He's frustrated.
"He's working his butt off. He's trying hard, and you hope the next one is better, but again, he's getting frustrated seeing the same thing happening over and over."
--Field Level Media