Chris Tillman tries to get the Baltimore Orioles back into the win column this evening when they open a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Tillman was marvelous in his season debut on July 4 in Seattle, as he held the Mariners to two unearned runs and two hits and fell two outs shy of the first complete game of his career.
"I feel like, in the past, I haven't been as confident as I am right now," said Tillman, who has pitched to a 5.33 ERA over parts of four seasons. "With what happened in my delivery, I feel like it's there for me now and I'm able to repeat it with all my pitches. I'm very confident right now, just got to keep it that way and keep working."
Tillman, though, has lost both of his starts to the Twins, pitching to a 3.75 ERA in the process.
He'll be trying to help an Orioles team that has lost five of seven after dropping two of three to the Detroit Tigers over the weekend, including a 4-0 setback in Sunday's finale at Camden Yards.
It was the fifth time that the Orioles have been shut out since June 15 and the 14th time they've been held to two runs or less.
Jim Thome had three of the Orioles' four hits on Sunday and is quite familiar with Target Field. Thome played for the Twins last season before being dealt to Cleveland. He also played against them with Philadelphia earlier in the year and went 5-for-11 with two home runs, nine RBI and four runs scored in a weakened set from June 12-14.
Hoping to slow him down tonight will be lefty Scott Diamond, who is 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA. Diamond did not get a decision his last time out back on July 5 in Detroit, as he surrendered two runs and five hits in seven innings of a 7-3 loss.
Diamond has never faced the Orioles.
Minnesota continues to stumble and is the worst team in the American League at 36-52 after being swept by the Oakland Athletics over the weekend. On Sunday, the Twins fell for the fifth straight time, dropping an 8-4 decision to the A's.
Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier and Alexi Casilla all drove in a run for the Twins, while Brian Duensing (1-6) lasted just two innings in the start as he was torched for six runs on seven hits to drop his fourth straight outing.
"I got shelled today and that's about it," Duensing said. "I gave up homer after homer and didn't make any good pitches. It was a bad day for me and it ended pretty quickly."
Baltimore swept a three-game set from the Twins earlier in the year and has beaten them seven straight times.