Chris Tillman is cashing in on a run-support binge. Now set to pitch with two extra days of rest, the fortunate right-hander will start the second game of a split-admission doubleheader against the visiting Cleveland Indians on Sunday after Saturday's game was postponed due to rain.
Tillman (5-7, 6.22 ERA) is 3-0 with a 6.98 ERA in his last four starts. The only game he didn't win in that span was the one in which he didn't last long enough, allowing six runs in 1 1-3 innings of Sunday's 13-9 win at Toronto.
The brevity of the outing resulted in his first start without a walk this season, but he's issued at least three in five of his previous six starts.
"I'm falling behind - and even the guys I get ahead (of), it's right back in their favor almost immediately," Tillman told MLB's official website. "I've got to do a better job of keeping me on the offensive, instead of defending against their swings."
Tillman, who has been worse at home with a 2-4 record and 6.81 ERA that's among the worst in baseball, has a season run-support average of 6.5. It's spiked significantly in the June unbeaten streak at 14.9 per game.
More good news is four of his worst starts have come against one opponent - Toronto - and the best start in the recent inconsistent span came in Cleveland. Tillman gave up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 win June 5 to give him a 3-2 mark and 4.73 ERA in six starts against the Indians.
Jason Kipnis is 3 for 8 with a home run off Tillman while Ryan Raburn (0 for 8) and Brandon Moss (1 for 12) have struggled in the matchup.
Kipnis is batting .400 during a career-best 20-game hitting streak and .373 in a 16-gamer against Baltimore. Raburn, Moss and Carlos Santana homered in Friday's 4-3 loss as the Indians (33-39) allowed Baltimore (39-34) to reach five games over .500 for the first time this year.
The Orioles were six games under entering play June 4 but have gone an MLB-best 16-5 since to get within 1 1/2 games of first-place Tampa Bay.
Jimmy Paredes has batted .396 in his last 12 games, Manny Machado is at .429 in eight and J.J. Hardy has hit .341 in 10 after spending his first 34 at .217 or worse. The recent success has come with Adam Jones (sore right shoulder) missing the last five games and eight of 10, which could result in a stint on the DL.
The Orioles have taken three of four in the season series while limiting the Indians to 2.5 runs per game.
Ubaldo Jimenez (6-3, 3.40) is slated to start the opener for Baltimore. The right-hander gave up three runs in five innings of a 6-4 victory over Boston on Tuesday to win his third straight start.
The former Indian, however, has lasted only five innings in three of his last four outings. The first of those came June 6 against Cleveland, when he gave up one run and walked six in a 2-1 road defeat. He had allowed 11 runs in 8 1-3 innings of his first two matchups with them - both losses.
Trevor Bauer (6-4, 3.86) will oppose Jimenez. The right-hander has sandwiched two awful starts around one strong one in his past three, giving up 13 runs in 6 2-3 innings of losses to Seattle on June 10 and Detroit on Monday.
In between, Bauer threw seven innings and gave up four hits in a 6-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on June 16.
''At some point balls that are bloops are going to fall and they all just seemed to fall tonight,'' he said after the 8-5 loss to the Tigers. ''I think of the nine hits off me, two were hit hard. Makes it tough against a lineup like that when the weak-contact stuff falls and you've got to keep trying to pitch around having guys all over the bases.''
Bauer, though, has contributed to his problems with 19 walks in his past five outings. He's issuing 4.4 per nine innings - second in the majors.
Cleveland will call up Toru Murata to make his major league debut in the second game. The right-hander, 30, was 5-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 14 games - 13 starts - at Columbus, and he'll count as the Indians' 26th man.