Orioles-Giants Preview


The Baltimore Orioles haven't had a 20-game winner in almost three decades.

If he continues his current pace, Chris Tillman has an opportunity to end that drought.

Tillman looks to win his fifth consecutive start and help the Orioles stay perfect on an eight-game road trip Friday night in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants.

Tillman (14-3, 3.89 ERA) has won four straight and 10 of his last 11 starts, buoyed by the fifth-best run support average in the majors. The Orioles (63-51) have scored three-plus runs for him in each of his last eight starts and that offense has helped give the right-hander a chance to become the franchise's first 20-game winner since Mike Boddicker in 1984.

Extra offensive support was needed against Seattle on Friday, when Tillman allowed six runs over 5 1-3 innings in Baltimore's 11-8 victory.

"I missed early, got out of whack a little bit and struggled to get back in," Tillman told the team's official site. "Making adjustments is something I've been proud of doing, and it just wasn't there tonight."

Tillman walked three for the third start in a row and his 3.41 walks per nine innings ranks among the league's worst.

He does, however, pitch much better away from hitter-friendly Camden Yards. He's 7-2 with a 4.36 ERA at home compared to 7-1 with a 3.23 ERA on the road. Tillman ranks among the major league leaders having surrendered 23 home runs, but only five have come in 55 2-3 road innings.

Baltimore completed a two-game sweep of San Diego with a 10-3 victory Wednesday as Chris Davis connected for his major league-leading 41st home run. J.J. Hardy also went deep for the Orioles, who have homered 10 times in the last six games and lead the majors with 152.

Davis is batting .489 (20 for 41) with five home runs in 11 interleague games. He's looking to become the second player to hit .500 or better for a single season since Kansas City's Joe Randa hit .508 in 1999.

''I have felt good the last couple of games,'' said Davis, batting .216 with 21 strikeouts in his last 51 at-bats. ''I feel comfortable in the box, but haven't had much to show for it.''

Teammate Adam Jones is 12 for 24 with five RBIs in August after going 7 for 9 with a homer in the two games against his hometown Padres.

Davis and Jones will both get their first look at Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 7.19), who will make his return from a fractured right hand Friday. After allowing three-plus runs in his first eight starts, the right-hander shut out Washington through five innings May 20 before leaving due to an injury he sustained hitting.

"I don't even think about it," Vogelsong told the team's official site concerning his injury.

The right-hander posted a 1.72 ERA over 15 2-3 innings in four rehab appearances and manager Bruce Bochy said Vogelsong could throw up to 100 pitches.

Vogelsong struggled in his only interleague start this season but is 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA in his last eight outings against the AL.

He can help give the last-place Giants (51-63) consecutive wins for the fourth time since June 20.

Their scuffling offense showed signs of life in Thursday's 4-1 victory over Milwaukee. Though they still rank last in the majors with 98 runs since July, the Giants did hit their first home run in six games - their first at home since July 20 - when Brandon Belt drove in three with his first-inning shot.

"It kind of reminded us what we're capable of," Belt said.

Brandon Crawford and Marco Scutaro each had three hits for the Giants, who have lost eight of 11 interleague contests.