BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles will try to end the first half of their season on a good note and win the series with the Los Angeles Angels when they meet Sunday afternoon.
Baltimore comes into the last game before the All-Star break leading the American League East by two games. The Orioles (50-36) hold a two-game edge over Toronto (50-40) and Boston (48-38), and manager Buck Showalter is looking forward to the brief break.
“Obviously, it's the end game we're after but reality, it comes back to you that if the season were to end today three teams from the American League East are in,” Showalter said. “And two of them are a streak away from being right back in it. But we have to be ready tomorrow. I'd like to get a win before a well-deserved break for these guys.”
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Chris Tillman, who did not make the All-Star team despite having an 11-2 record with a 3.55 ERA, starts the last game of the series. The Baltimore right-hander struggled a bit in recent starts but threw seven solid innings in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
Tillman won nine in a row and now is 10-1 after a 1-1 start. He stopped the Orioles' five-game losing streak with the victory over the Dodgers.
Tim Lincecum (1-1, 7.50) starts for the Angels as he continues to attempt to restart his career with Los Angeles. The right-hander has a 1-0 career record against the Orioles, having beaten them in 2010 while pitching for the San Francisco Giants.
He got a no-decision in his last start, on Tuesday in Tampa Bay. Lincecum gave up five earned runs and 10 hits in five innings.
The Orioles are hoping Tillman can take some pressure off the overworked bullpen. He has been the best member of the starting rotation at going deep into games.
Baltimore still has no timetable set for the return of setup man Darren O'Day. He has been out since June 3 with a right hamstring strain, and Showalter said the team simply isn't sure yet when O'Day will return.
The Orioles also could be losing right-hander Mychal Givens from the bullpen any minute as his wife is due to have a baby this week. But they're also hoping to finish on a positive note on Sunday as a win will give them two victories in the three-game series with the Angels.
“We've just got to finish strong (Sunday),” said second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who got the winning single in Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Angels. “Then (we can) get three days' rest and come back stronger.”
For the Angels, the loss of C.J. Cron will hurt. He suffered a broken hand on Friday night when hit by a Mike Wright pitch and sees a specialist Monday for another look at the injury.
Cron was hitting .387 on the road trip with five homers and 15 RBIs in seven games, including two multi-homer games.
The Angels led 2-1 in Saturday's game before Joe Smith's balk tied the score. One inning later, Smith allowed Schoop's decisive single.
“We're getting ready and hopefully (will) get the game on our terms and do a little better job of holding the lead,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.