American League East contenders Toronto and Baltimore open a key set on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. The season series between the division rivals is deadlocked at five games apiece.
The AL East-leading Orioles will send Bud Norris to the mound, while the second-place Blue Jays will counter with veteran lefty Mark Buehrle.
Norris is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in three starts against the Blue Jays this season. He won his only start in Toronto, but overall he has struggled on the road, going 4-5 with a 4.66 ERA in 10 starts away from Camden Yards.
The righty didn't factor in the decision in the Orioles' 13-inning loss to the Angels on Thursday. Norris (8-7) worked seven scoreless innings and scattered eight hits with four strikeouts.
"You'd always like to take advantage of a game pitched that well," manager Buck Showalter said.
The Blue Jays will limp into the key three-game series with several important members of their starting lineup still on the 15-day disabled list, although they did receive some good news on that front on Monday.
The club has been without the services of three key players -- Adam Lind (right foot fracture), Edwin Encarnacion (right quadriceps strain) and Brett Lawrie (fractured right index finger) -- since before the All-Star break. But it was reported on Monday that Lawrie would be activated prior to the series opener.
That could provide a boost for the Blue Jays, who'll send Buehrle to the mound as they attempt to break a three-game losing skid. Buehrle will look to stay in the win column after registering an elusive 11th victory in a sweep of the Red Sox on Wednesday.
The southpaw had been stuck on 10 wins since June 1, but he broke out with a strong 6 2/3 innings against Boston, allowing one run on six hits with one walk. Getting that overdue win was a relief, according to Buehrle.
"I try to stay even-keel whether I'm doing good or bad," Buehrle said. "But there are times when you go out there and get your butt handed to you a few times -- there's a thought in the back of your mind, like 'Am I done? Can I still get it done?' ... Maybe it's myself driving myself crazy, but this definitely feels good."
Orioles: Ubaldo set to rejoin team
Ubaldo Jimenez will travel with the O's to Toronto and could be activated any time after Thursday.
The Orioles haven't officially announced any starters past Thursday. Chris Tillman would be slotted for Friday if Baltimore stays on schedule with its current five-man rotation. Jimenez could pitch on Friday on regular rest as well, although he could get some extra rest ahead of his first Major League start in more than month.
"[We'll] see how he feels tomorrow with it, take his work day when he needs to and we'll see how it slots out after Thursday," Showalter said.
Neither Showalter nor Jimenez envisions a scenario with Jimenez in the bullpen, but the O's starters have been excellent in Jimenez's absence.
Jimenez, who signed a four-year contract for $50 million this offseason, is 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA and leads the American League with 60 walks this season. Last season, Jimenez posted 1.82 ERA in the second half after struggling to a 4.56 mark before the All-Star break.
Blue Jays: Lawrie to be activated
The long-awaited return of Lawrie will come sooner than expected after it was reported on Monday that he'll be activated prior to the Blue Jays' series opener against the O's.
Lawrie has been out since June 22 with a fractured right index finger. He is coming off a brief rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin that saw him record three hits in 10 at-bats.
The 23-year-old Lawrie is hitting .244 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs with a .718 OPS in 70 games for the Blue Jays this season. He is expected to receive time at second and third base upon his return.
Toronto has yet to announce a corresponding move to clear a spot for Lawrie on the 25-man roster.
• Nick Markakis and Adam Jones have played every game this season for the Orioles, making them the only teammates to appear in every game for their club this season.
• Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes has hit safely in 28 of his last 35 games since June 24.
• Toronto slugger Jose Bautista has reached base safely in 97 of his 106 starts this season, and has reached base safely in 13 straight games since July 22.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.