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Preview: Orioles (65-70) at Blue Jays (77-58)

Game: 3
Venue: Rogers Centre
Date: September 06, 2015 1:07 PM EDT

Stopping Toronto’s prolific lineup has proved challenging for most pitchers, and the Blue Jays have been incredibly rough on Chris Tillman.

They’ll try for another high-scoring performance against the Baltimore Orioles right-hander Sunday at Rogers Centre while padding their slim AL East lead.

Toronto has scored 84 more runs than any other team in baseball but has quieted down lately with an average of 3.8 in the last five games, down from its season average of 5.4. The Blue Jays have homered just twice in that span but still lead the majors with 185 after Jose Bautista hit his 32nd of the season in Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Orioles.

Bautista added an RBI double as Toronto (77-58) rebounded from Friday’s 10-2 loss to Baltimore and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of New York in the East with the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

“We did a lot of good things. They threw some pretty good arms at us,” manager John Gibbons said. “It wasn’t an easy win by any means. We got it handed to us (Friday) and bounced back pretty good.”

With a win in the finale, the Blue Jays would be the first team to be under .500 after the All-Star break and eventually reach 20 games over .500 since the 2004 Houston Astros, who were 61-62 on Aug. 22 before finishing 92-70.

The offense could really break out against the struggling Tillman, who is 0-3 with a 15.00 ERA in four starts versus the Blue Jays this season. Tillman (9-10, 4.87 ERA) has lost three straight outings overall with a 7.27 ERA after giving up seven runs in 4 2-3 innings Tuesday in an 11-2 loss to Tampa Bay.

He’s 1-2 with a 12.46 ERA in his last four starts in Toronto and has allowed 13 runs in 5 2-3 innings in his two in 2015.

“(I) definitely have to make an adjustment against these guys moving forward. They seem to see the ball well (off me), and (I’ve) just got to get better,” Tillman told MLB’s official website after giving up six runs in 1 1-3 innings when he last faced the Blue Jays on June 21.

While Toronto has won 27 of 34, the Orioles have dropped 13 of 16 to put their playoff hopes in serious doubt. Baltimore (65-70) has lost nine of 11 on the road while Toronto has taken 18 of 23 at home.

Marco Estrada (11-8, 3.16) will start instead of Mark Buehrle because Toronto wanted to give the veteran left-hander an extra day of rest.

Estrada will face the Orioles for the first time since a no-hit bid June 19. He was pulled after giving up his only hit – Jimmy Paredes’ single to lead off the eighth inning – and was charged with one run in the 5-4 victory.

The right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA in his last seven starts after yielding two runs in seven innings of a 10-inning win over Cleveland on Tuesday. That performance continued his strong pitching at home, where he’s 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA in his last five starts.

Paredes is 3 for 4 against Estrada in 2015 while Adam Jones and Steve Pearce are a combined 0 for 11. Chris Davis has one home run in five career at-bats versus Estrada and had five in three games before being held to a single in three at-bats Saturday.

Kevin Pillar is 4 for 8 with two home runs and a double against Tillman this season. Ryan Goins, batting .389 in his last 10 games, is 4 for 4.