Blue Jays-Orioles Preview

Chris Tillman usually doesn't fare too well against the Toronto Blue Jays. He took it to a whole new level last season.

Tillman tries to end a six-game losing streak to the Blue Jays and help the Baltimore Orioles to a second straight victory over their division rival Thursday night.

While the Blue Jays are capable of knocking around any pitcher, they seem to particularly relish facing Tillman. In six 2015 starts against Toronto, the right-hander went 0-4 with an unsightly 11.72 ERA. He served up 10 homers and 40 hits in 25 1-3 innings while walking 11 and striking out 15.

Kevin Pillar went 6 for 13 with three homers in last season's matchups, while Edwin Encarnacion was 5 for 12 with a homer and Ryan Goins went 6 for 9.

In his last eight starts in the series, Tillman is 0-6 with a 9.39 ERA.

The Orioles (9-4) can at least point toward the majority of the damage being done at Rogers Centre. Tillman is 2-4 with a 3.70 ERA in nine home starts against Toronto, completing at least six innings in all but one of those appearances.

After solid performances in his first two outings - the first cut to two innings due to a rain delay - Tillman (1-1, 5.11 ERA) was done in by a five-run sixth in Thursday's 6-3 loss at Texas. He allowed six runs and nine hits before departing with one out in the big inning.

"They didn't hit that many balls hard off him," manager Buck Showalter said. "I've been so impressed with how crisp he's been since the first day of spring, really his second outing of spring. He's going to be a real contributor for us."

Baltimore avoided a third straight loss with Wednesday's 4-3, 10-inning victory despite failing to homer for the first time since opening day. Caleb Joseph doubled with two outs, moved up on rookie Joey Rickard's third hit and raced home on a passed ball.

''Scoring runs is scoring runs,'' Showalter said. ''It's always important to have different ways to do it.''

Manny Machado went 2 for 3 with two walks to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, raising his average to an AL-best .407. He remains the only player in the majors to hit safely in each of his team's games.

Josh Donaldson homered and Encarnacion had two RBIs for Toronto (8-8), which had a three-game win streak snapped after going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

''A lot of lost opportunities,'' manager John Gibbons acknowledged.

The Blue Jays send Marco Estrada (1-1, 2.77) to the mound hoping this start more resembles his season debut than his most recent outing. After tossing seven innings in a 3-0 home win over Boston on April 10, the right-hander was charged with four runs - all in the third inning - and eight hits over six innings in a 4-2 loss at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Estrada went 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts against the Orioles last season, posting a 4.38 ERA in two at Camden Yards.

Few of the Orioles have had success in this matchup, with Pedro Alvarez (3 for 21), J.J. Hardy (0 for 8) and Adam Jones (0 for 7) struggling mightily. Ryan Flaherty, though, is 2 for 7 with a pair of homers.

Alvarez, 4 for 32 this season, could find himself on the bench with Flaherty getting a rare start.


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