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BAL@TOR: Tillman goes the distance in tough loss

The Blue Jays will look to play the ultimate spoiler against the Orioles in their upcoming three-game set at Camden Yards.

Baltimore enters Tuesday's contest five games back of the second American League Wild Card spot after losing five straight games, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rays.

Those losses couldn't have come at a worse time for the Orioles, who dropped four games in the Wild Card standings over that stretch. That puts Baltimore's elimination number at two, meaning a loss Tuesday could officially stop the Orioles from returning to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

The Orioles will send Chris Tillman to the mound to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Tillman, 25, is on the verge of eclipsing 200 innings, sitting just 5 2/3 frames shy of the impressive mark, and he is 16-7 with a 3.70 ERA on the season.

"I think the statistics snuck up on some people, but how well he's pitching didn't and how well he's capable of it in our circles," said manager Buck Showalter. "It's been quality. Some guys get 200 innings just by showing up. There are certain statistics you can accumulate in the Major Leagues just by playing every day and pitching every fifth day.

"Tilly's just been, you can see it in his face. He's pretty confident. I think he feels good that people feel good about him, if that makes any sense. If he gets in a little bind early in the game, he's not feeling that, 'What's going to happen now?' He's got a track record."

Tillman will be opposed by 28-year-old rookie Todd Redmond.

Redmond has allowed three earned runs or less in all but one of his 12 starts this season, and he tossed a career-high seven innings against the Yankees on Thursday.

"He competes, he doesn't give in, nothing rattles him," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of his starter. "He's a lot like [left-hander Mark] Buehrle from the right side. They have the same mental approach. They just compete -- good, bad or ugly. They don't back down from anything, they just take the ball. You need more of those guys in this game if you're going to win anything."

Orioles: Machado injured in loss to Rays
Time is running out on Baltimore's postseason hopes, and the loss of Manny Machado in Monday's contest isn't going to make things any easier.

The third baseman landed funny on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of the Orioles 5-4 loss to the Rays, and he was taken off the field in a stretcher.

As the 21-year-old hit the bag, his left knee buckled and he immediately hit the ground.

"That's horrible. Baltimore has really ascended over the last couple years and he's really been a cornerstone of that whole thing," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who speculated that Machado had possibly blown out his knee. "I hate to see that. He's a young man, tremendous talent. I don't know him that well, but I think he's got a great joy for the game also. So you hate to see that happen."

Machado had an X-ray immediately after the game, but the results haven't been released, and will undergo a MRI Tuesday in Baltimore.

Blue Jays: Bautista still believes in club
After a year that has gone differently than people had expected, there's still a strong belief in the core the Blue Jays have moving forward.

"I think we're a legitimate contender [going into next season]," said Jose Bautista, who has been sidelined since Aug. 21 with a left hip bone bruise. "Unfortunately, we didn't have the results this year … but that's not to say that the quality needed on the players' side is not here.

"We just need to step our game up a little bit and be accountable for our actions and, at the same time, hold ourselves a little bit to a higher degree of responsibility of coming out here and playing a better team effort and getting results done. There's no excuses, we just have to figure out a way to do it."

Toronto has long been out of playoff contention despite a busy offseason that saw hefty expectations placed on the club. After falling to the White Sox, 3-2, on Monday the club dropped to 71-85 on the season.

A big problem has been a starting staff that entered Monday with a 4.77 ERA, second to last in the Majors.

"Obviously [starting pitching] is one of the important aspects of our ball club … and some can point out that was our biggest weakness this year," Bautista said. "But like I said, winning teams figure out a way to win, and I guess not only can I use the word 'team' there, but I can say winning organizations figure out a way to win even when some of the starting pitching or some of the starting players in the everyday lineup get hurt."

Worth noting
• With the loss in Monday's game, the Orioles are still one win shy of recording back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996-97.

• Tillman will be making his fifth start of the season vs. the Blue Jays on Tuesday. He is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA against Toronto, with Baltimore going 3-1 in those games.

• Toronto is 8-8 against the Orioles this season, but just 2-4 at Camden Yards. Comments