KANSAS CITY -- If the Orioles are successful in their attempt to extend the American League Championship Series, they are all but certain to send ace Chris Tillman to the mound for Game 5 (Thursday, 4 p.m. ET, TBS). The only way that wouldn't happen is if Tillman were needed in relief in Game 4, in which case manager Buck Showalter would turn to Bud Norris in Game 5.
Tillman didn't pitch as well as he would have liked in Game 1, which is why Game 5 would give him a sweet chance for redemption.
In Game 1, Tillman gave up seven hits and five runs over 4 1/3 innings. The Royals would counter in Game 5 with James Shields, who also pitched against Tillman in the series opener, which Kansas City won, 8-6, in 10 innings.
"I was a few pitches away from getting out of some big innings," Tillman said. "And I think they were able to capitalize on some mistakes. I think the biggest thing to me is execution. You execute a few pitches here, a few pitches there and we're right in the ballgame. It's a different game."
Tillman made 34 starts in the regular season, going 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA. In his two career postseason starts, Tillman is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA.
"Anything can happen in this game," Tillman said before Game 4. "And if we go out and execute today, it's a big momentum game. And I think we've done a good job of keeping the momentum throughout the season -- you just ride it out."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.