Published September 14, 2013
| Sports Network
Chris Tillman goes after his 17th win of the season and tries to keep the Baltimore Orioles in the playoff hunt on Saturday when they continue a three-game series versus the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Tillman became the first Orioles pitcher to reach 16 wins in season since Mike Mussina back in 1999 on Monday, as he held the New York Yankees to a pair of runs over seven innings to improve to 16-5, while lowering his ERA to 3.66. He also struck out nine without walking a batter.
"We had high hopes on him, and you're seeing it now," O's outfielder Nick Markakis said of Tillman, acquired in the Orioles' haul from Seattle for starter Erik Bedard prior to the 2008 season. "Earlier in his career, he struggled with his command a little bit. His stuff has always been there, and he's figuring it out now. It's good for us."
Tillman has faced the Jays eight times and is 3-2 against them with a 4.13 ERA.
Toronto, meanwhile, will counter with righty Esmil Rogers, who is 5-7 with a 4.46 ERA. Rogers hasn't allowed a run in his last two starts and worked a career-high 7 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. He had thrown 6 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball in his previous effort.
"He was mostly fastballs, but he was in the zone, and he has life when he's in the zone," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Rogers. "That has been a key for him all year. Early on when he had a good stretch, it was pretty simple how it works and he has gained confidence."
This will be his first-ever start against the Orioles, but has pitched to a 1.69 ERA against them in seven relief appearances.
Baltimore snapped a three-game losing streak in Friday's opener, as Chris Davis matched a franchise record with his 50th home run, a tie-breaking solo shot in the top of the eighth inning to lift the O's to a 5-3 victory.
The 27-year-old slugger matched Brady Anderson's mark for homers in a season, which the former Orioles outfielder set on Sept. 29, 1996 in Toronto.
"I've said it all along, it's nice to have personal goals and to reach your own goals, but when the team is winning, that's what makes it that much sweeter," said Davis.
"We've really battled the last couple of days," Davis added. "I think we had a couple of games where we were in them and we weren't able to seal the deal, but tonight, it was big to come from behind and get the win."
Tommy Hunter (5-4) picked up the win after recording the final two outs of the seventh and spinning a scoreless eighth before Jim Johnson worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to nail down his 44th save of the season.
Baltimore is 2 1/2 games back of the second wild card spot in the AL.
Adam Lind launched a two-run homer and Colby Rasmus added a solo blast for the Jays, who have lost four straight games.
Steve Delabar (5-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up Davis' homer in the eighth.
Toronto has split 14 matchups with the Orioles this season.