Chris Tillman is coming off his best start of the season, eight shutout innings against his hometown Angels on Thursday night, the 25-year-old right-hander's third straight quality start.
He'll get a chance to continue his hot stretch -- and extend the Orioles' winning streak to four games-- against the Royals on Wednesday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Tillman was at his best Thursday, allowing only three hits and two walks as he mowed down the Angels on 114 pitches over eight innings. He didn't issue a walk after the first inning, struck out three and retired 20 of the final 21 batters he faced.
"It was a tough lineup, so we knew we'd have to mix a lot of pitches to keep them off balance," Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said Thursday. "The biggest thing was that Tillman was able to control the ball in tonight. He was able to back them off the plate a little bit and throw some strikes in where you couldn't just lean out there. That made his offspeed stuff even better."
While Tillman was on top of his game in his hometown of Anaheim, he's actually struggled at home this season. He's 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA in his three home starts compared to 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three road outings. On top of all that, he's 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts against the Royals at Oriole Park. But as well as he's pitched lately, he should head into Wednesday's start with plenty of confidence no matter what the numbers say.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Luis Mendoza returned to the rotation last Wednesday after not starting for 18 days and gave up six runs on seven hits -- including three homers -- against the Rays. In between starts, he pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
While Kansas City's starters have been mostly effective at going deep into games -- they've gone at least six innings in 22 of 29 contests -- Mendoza has failed to do so in each of his last two starts. Compounding the problem, of course, is the amount of time Mendoza has had to wait between outings as the Royals' No. 5 starter.
He threw six strong innings in his 2013 debut against the Phillies, but he's given up 13 earned runs over his last two starts.
Royals: Tejada excited to face old club
Miguel Tejada started at third base Tuesday night for three reasons, according to manager Ned Yost. First, he's hit well lately. Second, the Royals were facing a left-handed pitcher with -- here's the third reason -- one of Tejada's former teams, the Orioles. Tejada was a star in Baltimore from 2004-07 and played there again in 2010.
"It's not just because I'm in the lineup against my old team, it's because I'm playing," said a smiling Tejada, who went 2-for-3 with two runs.
Orioles: Davis returns to lineup
First baseman Chris Davis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Orioles' series opener against the Royals on Tuesday, but of greater concern, he said beforehand that his injured right knee is feeling fine. Davis hurt his knee running out a ball against the Angels on Friday but felt well enough to play Tuesday.
"I think it was one of those things where you kind of realize you're not invincible," Davis said. "I've never had any injuries in my career where they've caused me to miss any time."
• Entering this series, the five members of the Orioles' rotation owned a combined 12-18 record and 5.88 ERA in 43 career games against the Royals.
• Prior to Tuesday's game, the Royals led the Majors in two-out offense, hitting .293 (93-for-317) as a club with 52 RBIs -- or 43 percent of the club's 122 runs -- entering the game. Perhaps fittingly, Kansas City's three runs Tuesday night came with two outs.
• Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts (right hamstring) will travel to Dallas on Wednesday to meet with Dr. Daniel Cooper in an attempt to speed up his recovery. Roberts ruptured a tendon behind his right knee on April 4 against Tampa Bay while sliding, but his rehab has not progressed as quickly as he'd like.