Orioles-Blue Jays Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
STATS Senior Writer
(AP) -- Chris Tillman's only defeat during a strong start to the season came against Dustin McGowan and the Toronto Blue Jays.
He'll have the chance to avenge that loss against McGowan on Wednesday night when the visiting Orioles try to avoid a third straight defeat to the Blue Jays.
One of Tillman's best outings came at home against Toronto (11-9) on April 11, when he gave up two runs and three hits over eight innings of a 2-0 defeat. Tillman (2-1, 1.71 ERA) has posted a 1.96 ERA but received five runs of support while going 0-2 in his last three starts against the Blue Jays after he went 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA in his previous four matchups.
The oft-injured McGowan (1-1, 4.85) threw a strong 6 1-3 innings against Tillman and the Orioles (9-10) to record his first win since June 22, 2008, and improve to 1-3 with a 5.29 ERA in seven starts versus Baltimore.
"You tip your cap," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said after the loss earlier this month.
However, neither pitcher was sharp in their next outing after the April 11 meeting.
Tillman yielded three runs, seven hits and walked four while throwing 122 pitches in five innings of an 8-4 victory at Boston on Friday.
McGowan gave up three runs, six hits and four walks on 85 pitches over four innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-5 loss at Minnesota in the nightcap of a doubleheader Thursday.
The right-hander will try to help the Blue Jays build on Tuesday's 9-3 series-opening victory and third in four games against the Orioles. Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie hit three-run homers for Toronto, which overcame a 3-0 deficit to hand Baltimore its third defeat in four games.
"We have a very talented team and we know we can hit so when we start hitting it's going to be great to watch this team play," said Encarnacion, who hit his first homer after combining for 78 over the last two years.
He's 6 for 18 with five RBIs against the Orioles this season, and 5 for his last 16 (.313) with a home run versus Tillman.
Cabrera is batting .347 (17 for 49) with five homers and eight RBIs during an 11-game home hitting streak dating to last season, when he missed the final two months with a knee injury.
With a single and two walks Tuesday, teammate Jose Bautista has reached base safely in all 20 games this season.
Nelson Cruz, who also had a three-run homer in the series opener, is hitting .381 (8 for 21) with two home runs and nine RBIs while the Orioles have gone 2-3 on a seven-game trip through Boston and Toronto.
"It's not easy going through these (AL East) lineups," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
Cruz is 4 for 9 with two homers and five RBIs in his last two games at Toronto, but he's 1 for 7 with a double against McGowan.
It's possible shortstop J.J. Hardy (hamstring) and catcher Matt Wieters (forearm) could play Wednesday after both missed the last two games for the Orioles.
Updated April 23, 2014