Tonight's game and Zach Britton note

The Orioles go back to the grind tonight. It may be beneath a dome, depending on the weather, but it's 100 percent grind.

Having lost three of four games in Kansas City, the Orioles walk into the other lion's den. The Blue Jays are 76-57 and hold a 12-game lead over them in the American League East. They're 45-24 at Rogers Centre. They lead the majors with 250 doubles, 185 home runs, 730 runs scored, a .330 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage.

Their starter tonight, Drew Hutchison, is 13-2 with a 4.87 ERA and 1.406 WHIP in 138 2/3 innings. Run support isn't an issue.

The Orioles are 5-7 against the Blue Jays this season - a respectable showing, all things considered. They were swept in a three-game series in April at Rogers Centre, but took two of three in their return visit in June. Darren O'Day was credited with two wins after the Orioles lost the opener.

Ubaldo Jimenez is a mixed bag against the Blue Jays. You can focus on how he's 5-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 12 career games (11 starts), or 0-2 with an 8.16 ERA in four games (three starts) in Toronto.

Jimenez shut out the Blue Jays on one hit over seven innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts, in an April 11 game at Camden Yards. He held them to two runs and six hits in seven innings, with two walks and nine strikeouts, exactly one month later in the same ballpark. However, he allowed four runs and six hits in five innings on April 22 at Rogers Centre.

The current Blue Jays are batting .190 (36-for-189) against Jimenez. Jose Bautista is 2-for-29, Justin Smoak is 2-for-20 with 10 strikeouts and Josh Donaldson is 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts. Ben Revere is 4-for-9 with a double and triple.

Edwin Encarnacion, the American League's Player of the Month for August, is 6-for-30 with three doubles and a home run.

Matt Wieters caught back-to-back games this week for only the second time and he was able to rest yesterday. However, for what it's worth, Jimenez has a career 7.49 ERA in 12 games and 63 2/3 innings with Wieters behind the plate and a 3.02 ERA in 28 games and 161 innings with Caleb Joseph.

Hutchison hasn't lost since July 3 in Detroit. He won all four starts in August.

Hutchison has faced the Orioles twice this season, allowing seven runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings on April 12 and only two runs and four hits in eight innings on April 23. He's 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 10 career starts agaisnt them.

Ryan Flaherty is 2-for-13 with six strikeouts against Hutchison, Chris Davis is 4-for-20 with nine strikeouts, Manny Machado is 4-for-11 with a double and home run, and Steve Pearce is 3-for-8.

Hutchison is 11-1 with a 2.46 ERA in 14 home starts and 2-1 with a 9.00 ERA in 11 road starts. Right-handers are batting .319 against him and left-handers are batting .252.

britton-pitch-white-sidebar.jpgCloser Zach Britton struck out the side Wednesday night in the eighth inning. He had allowed runs in two of his last three outings, with opponents totaling three runs (two earned) and five hits over three innings.

The number of infield hits off Britton's heavy sinker continue to climb.

The Rangers started their eighth-inning rally Sunday afternoon when Will Venable singled to first base. Britton blew a save against the Twins on Aug. 23 after Brian Dozier singled to first base. Eduardo Rosario reached later in the inning on a single to second base.

Britton's second blown save on Aug. 14 against the Athletics started when the first two batters reached on infield hits. The next three batters also kept the ball on the ground, but former Oriole Danny Valencia poked one through the right side of the infield to tie the game.

Britton worked on fielding drills Monday afternoon before batting practice in an attempt to find a solution. Otherwise, maybe the Orioles should take manager Buck Showalter's suggestion and just play the infield in as soon as the left-hander enters the game.

Showalter was kidding, but it couldn't hurt.

"After (Sunday), we kind of looked at it and I think the last three outings there have been about eight infield hits," Britton said. "A lot of them you can't do anything about, but the ones I'm thinking maybe if I get there, set up in the right way, maybe we have a chance. And then just little things like falling off the mound, so we're working on turning the right way so you can get to first a little bit quicker.

"Stuff like that that for my game right now can help between having a blown save or not. Infield hits, especially in the ninth inning, you've got to make better pitches, and it's tough when you give up those infield hits, but I'm trying to work on getting to the ones I can."

Britton's agent, Scott Boras, calculated that the left-hander has allowed 18 or 19 infield hits this season, compared to 10 in 2014. Britton couldn't remember the exact amount, but you get the idea.

"If you're giving up line drives everywhere, then you can be like, 'OK, that's the adjustment I need to make.' But if I'm giving up infield hits, weak contact and making good pitches, so now you're like, 'Well, there's nothing I can do,'" Britton said.

"You've just got to stick with it. It's a little more frustrating, but I'm just trying to work on fielding everything I can. Not having to rely as much on Manny (Machado) and CD (Chris Davis) and letting them get to the bag or whatever, so I can take the balls that I know I can get."

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