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BAL@BOS: Gonzalez goes 6 1/3 frames to earn the win

At this point in the season, a playoff berth would appear to be the Orioles' to lose.

There's no reason to sit comfortably, but with a two-game edge over the Angels -- the first team out in the Wild Card race -- with a little over a week to play, a spot in the postseason seems to be within their reach.

Only, it's not just a postseason berth that the Orioles are after, as they take on the Blue Jays in Wednesday's series finale. A chance at the division crown -- and an automatic berth in the American League Division Series -- is up for grabs, as they trail the Yankees by 1 1/2 games in the AL East.

And the Blue Jays would love nothing more than to play spoiler to the Orioles and claim a series victory over their contending AL East rivals as the season winds down.

The Blue Jays send righty Carlos Villanueva to the hill on Wednesday, and his health appears to have returned after he dealt with fatigue and discomfort earlier in the week.

Villanueva allowed seven runs in just 2 1/3 innings against the Rays in his last time out.

"He's back to normal," manager John Farrell said. "He is ready to start [Wednesday] and on tap for that. But as we've stated other times, too, this time of year guys are dealing with some general fatigue and that's no different in this case."

Opposing Villanueva will be Orioles rookie right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. The righty has been a nice surprise for Baltimore, and that continued with 6 1/3 solid innings against Boston his last time out, during which he allowed just two runs.

"I felt great," Gonzalez said of the win. "I think every win matters. It doesn't matter where you pitch. Every at-bat, every pitch, every inning matters right now."

Gonzalez has pitched twice against Toronto this season, and he has allowed six earned runs in 9 2/3 innings.

Orioles: Markakis healing
• Baltimore outfielder Nick Markakis is recovering after undergoing surgery for his broken left thumb last month. There is no timetable for a return.

"Hopefully, it has the potential to be on the fast track," manager Buck Showalter said.

Markakis hopes to have pins taken out of his thumb next week, and he is already out of a cast. He sustained the injury when he was hit by a pitch from Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.

Blue Jays: An opportunity for Gose
• A viable option for the left-field spot in 2013, 22-year-old rookie Anthony Gose is getting the chance to put in a good word this month.

Gose initially spent time in right field, replacing the injured Jose Bautista. But most of his work this month has come in left field, where he's auditioning for a role next season.

"That's exactly what it is," manager John Farrell said. "For us to get as accurate of a read as we can and give him time in innings played at that position."

The speedy Gose is hitting .218 with a homer, eight RBIs and 15 steals. That average is deceiving however, as he has hit .267 this month.

Worth noting
• Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds is hitting .357 with three walks, two homers and four RBIs in 17 plate appearances against Villanueva.

• With 10 wins in their 17 games against the Blue Jays, the Orioles have wrapped up their first season series win over Toronto since 2004, when they took 11 of 19.

• Adam Jones is just the seventh Orioles hitter to launch 30 or more homers and score 100 or more runs. Miguel Tejada in 2004 was the most recent.

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