(SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles hope to have some pop left in their bats when they go for a series win over the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Camden Yards.
The Orioles downed the Cardinals, 12-2, in Friday's opener of a three-game series and belted six home runs during a 15-hit attack. J.J. Hardy homered twice and finished with four RBI, while Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty all went deep. Machado ended with three RBI and Nick Hundley finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
Baltimore's barrage of runs made a winner out of starting pitcher Chris Tillman, who allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. He scattered four hits to improve to 9-5.
"When you see him have control on his fastball and his curveball early in the game, he has a real good chance," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's been real crisp."
The Orioles, who lead the AL East by five games ahead of New York, have won nine of the last 12 games and extended their major league-best record since July 1 to 23-10. Baltimore leads the majors with 144 home runs and is 32-10 when hitting more than one home run in a game this season.
Baltimore is 12-4 at Camden Yards since June 30 and has won seven straight series openers, including four in a row at home.
Taking the mound for the O's Saturday will be Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez has been on the disabled list because of an ankle injury and last pitched on July 5 in a 7-4 win at Boston. He did not record a decision that day and lasted just 3 2/3 innings, charged with four runs and five hits with six walks.
Jimenez is 3-8 with a 4.52 earned run average and only 1-6 in nine home starts. He has faced St. Louis eight times -- all starts -- in his career, going 2-3 with a 3.33 ERA.
St. Louis had won four of five games prior to Friday's loss and is two games off the lead in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is 1 1/2 games behind Milwaukee.
The Cardinals got their runs last night on a two-run homer by A.J. Pierzynski in the seventh inning and newcomer Justin Masterson was touched for five runs and seven hits in only two innings for the loss.
"I think we just tried to make the sinker do a little too much," Masterson said. "It just came out a little early, so hitters were seeing it a little earlier. They put some good swings on it, they didn't miss anything."
Nick Greenwood allowed four runs in three innings of relief and Sam Freeman gave up three runs.
John Lackey will make his second start in a St. Louis uniform and was impressive in his debut Sunday versus the Brewers, as he delivered seven innings of two-run ball in a 3-2 triumph. Acquired before the trade deadline from Boston, Lackey is 12-7 overall with a 3.55 ERA and has pitched at least seven innings in three straight outings.
Lackey is quite familiar with the Orioles and has faced them 26 times -- all starts -- in his career, going 14-7 with two complete games and a 3.70 ERA. However, in three matchups with Baltimore this season, Lackey is 1-2 with a less-than-stellar 7.02 ERA.
The Cardinals have not faced the Orioles since sweeping a three-game set in Baltimore in 2011. Baltimore is 8-4 against the National League this season, while the Cardinals have a 7-11 record in interleague play.