Yankees-Orioles Preview

TOM CASTRO (STATS Senior Editor)

A walkoff win over the New York Yankees kept the first-place Baltimore Orioles surging. Juggling their rotation due to injury appears to give the Orioles a better shot for yet another victory over their AL East rivals.

With Ubaldo Jimenez headed to the disabled list instead of the mound Saturday, Chris Tillman takes his place looking to continue a strong run as the Orioles host the Yankees.

Baltimore (51-41) dropped New York five games off the division lead and moved a season-best 10 games over .500 with a 3-2 comeback victory Friday. Nick Hundley delivered the winning single in the 10th inning for the Orioles, who trailed 2-0 before pulling even in the fourth.

Baltimore has won nine of 11, posting a 2.85 ERA in that span - 1.89 from the relievers - and has nine victories in 12 extra-inning games this season.

" ... with the offense that we have and the staunch bullpen, that combination lends itself to be successful - either late in the game or extra innings," Hundley said.

The Orioles got a strong start from Miguel Gonzalez, who threw eight innings of two-run ball, and now look for Tillman (7-4, 4.11 ERA) to extend his recent string of excellence.

The right-hander went seven innings and gave up two runs with six strikeouts in an 8-2 victory at Washington on Monday, giving him a 2.21 ERA in his last six outings. One of those came at New York on June 22, a dominant effort in which he went seven innings and gave up four hits in an 8-0 win.

Tillman has a 5.83 ERA in 11 career starts against the Yankees, though he's allowed two or fewer runs in four of the last five. He's won three of the past four matchups to give him a 5-4 record versus New York.

Jimenez was put on the 15-day DL with a sprained right ankle he suffered in a parking lot at his apartment complex Wednesday. He's endured a miserable first season with the Orioles, going 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA overall and 1-4 with a 5.79 mark at home.

New York (46-46) also received a solid outing from its starting pitcher Friday, the day after the club learned ace Masahiro Tanaka will be out for an extended period. Hiroki Kuroda went seven innings and allowed two runs, but the Yankees blew a lead and lost for the second time in as many games to fall to 1-3 in their last four.

"They're all hard," manager Joe Girardi said. "You're playing Baltimore. Obviously they're in first place, and you don't want to lose a game like that. But you just want to come out and win tomorrow."

They'll now turn to right-hander Shane Greene (1-0, 2.84 ERA), who delivered a strong performance in his starting debut Monday when he went six innings and gave up two runs and four hits to earn a 5-3 victory at Cleveland.

"We've said all along this kid has a lot of talent," Girardi said after that game.

Baltimore's Adam Jones continued his roll with two hits Friday and has batted .382 in his last 15 games. Hundley has hit .375 in his past nine.

Ichiro Suzuki was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and is hitting .429 during a seven-game hitting streak.

Derek Jeter is 6 for 16 (.375) against Tillman, while Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .304 (7 for 23) with two doubles and a home run in the matchup.