Few teams have flourished in Toronto this year. Manny Machado sure has.
After helping prevent the Blue Jays from matching the longest home win streak in team history, the red-hot Machado looks to keep battering their staff Sunday and lead the Baltimore Orioles to another offensive outburst for Chris Tillman - he might need it considering the opponent.
Baltimore (35-33) can join Seattle as the only visiting teams to win a series at Rogers Centre in the past two months. The Blue Jays (37-33) are 21-8 at home since April 20, a stretch which began with a three-game sweep of the Orioles.
Toronto's 5-4 win over Baltimore on Friday was its ninth straight at home, one shy of the franchise record set in 1985. The Orioles responded, though, with a 5-3 victory Saturday thanks to a three-run ninth inning in which Caleb Joseph delivered the go-ahead RBI single.
"That was a big clutch hit," said Machado, who followed with a two-run double.
That was Machado's third hit of the day after having two Friday, and he also scored twice in both games. The third baseman is 10 for 19 with eight RBIs in five games at Toronto this season.
He's been hitting well everywhere lately, batting .439 with 13 RBIs and 18 runs over the past 14 games. Machado has six homers in that span to reach 14 overall, tying a career high.
Two of those came when Tillman last pitched, a 19-3 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday as the Orioles hit a club-record eight homers. Another big offensive day may be needed for Baltimore to win because Tillman (5-7, 5.58 ERA) has been ripped in all three matchups with the Blue Jays this year.
The right-hander has a 12.51 ERA in those games, compared to 3.92 against all other opponents. He's lasted just 13 2-3 innings, giving up 21 hits and nine walks. Tillman, who has lost five straight starts against Toronto, has a career 6.54 ERA at Rogers Centre - his worst in any ballpark where he's started more than once other than Yankee Stadium.
However, he's pitched reasonably well to win three consecutive starts after previously losing six straight decisions. Tillman had three more walks Tuesday - he's among the worst in baseball with 36 - but yielded only four hits in six innings and allowed three runs.
Toronto will give Scott Copeland (1-1, 2.57) a third straight start in place of Aaron Sanchez (back). Copeland's only big-league experience had been two scoreless relief appearances in early May before a stellar starting debut June 10, tossing seven innings of one-run ball to beat Miami. The former Baltimore draft pick's next start was not nearly as good, allowing three runs and eight hits in four innings of Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the New York Mets.
While the Toronto bullpen has been tagged for six runs and nine hits in four innings during this series, Baltimore's relievers have been needed for 10 2-3 innings and yielded just two runs. Those are the only two allowed by the Orioles bullpen over the past nine games.
Closer Zach Britton converted his 15th straight save opportunity Saturday despite surrendering a run for the first time in 14 appearances. Darren O'Day loaded the bases with none out in the eighth but struck out the next three batters, dropping his ERA to 1.00.
"We had them on the ropes, but there's nobody tougher out there than O'Day," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson and Kevin Pillar are a combined 8 for 21 (.381) against Tillman this year with one home run apiece. Pillar is batting .391 this month after hitting .181 in May.