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Saunders starts, but Tillman gets taste of limelight

NEW YORK -- Was part of manager Buck Showalter's thought process in going with Joe Saunders over Chris Tillman for Thursday's Game 4 start in the American League Division Series because of how the veteran handled the do-or-die Wild Card start?

"Somewhat," said Showalter, who sent both pitchers to the podium on Wednesday and didn't make a decision public until after the game. "It's a similar game than what [Saunders] pitched in Texas. I know everybody thinks New York has a corner on pressure or whatever, tough place to play. It wasn't easy there, OK? ... I knew if Joe didn't pitch last night that's where we were going, but Tillman, I wanted him to experience that environment, that press conference. Because I think he's got a chance to be one of those guys, maybe the next round."

Saunders, who came to the Orioles from the D-backs in a late-August trade, worked 5 2/3 innings against the Rangers, giving up just one run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts to keep Baltimore's season alive. He was asked to do that again on Thursday night with the Orioles down, 2-1, in their matchup with the New York Yankees.

Tillman has not started a postseason game and went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 starts this season, although he hasn't fared particularly well in the Bronx.

"Some of that had to do with his [right] elbow," Showalter said, citing an issue that Tillman dealt with earlier this year. "Chris is going to be a good pitcher in this ballpark. Chris has had a good year for us. And he continues to be an option."

Baltimore Orioles