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BAL@HOU: Tillman goes 6 2/3 for his fifth win

Rangers starter Colby Lewis will have the chance to break .500 with his start Thursday in the final game of a Rangers-Orioles series, while Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will have to pass his up and spend an unexpected night on the bench.

The Orioles reported Wednesday that Gonzalez will have an MRI on his right side, and that he could either be bound for the disabled list or be ready to pitch on Saturday, depending on the results.

Chris Tillman -- who was scheduled to start Saturday and have two extra days off after a rotation shuffle -- will instead start Thursday in place of Gonzalez against the Rangers.

Tillman is 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA on the season, and in his last start against the Astros, pitched 6 2/3 innings with just one run.

"We wanted to give him a couple of extra days, but this won't hurt him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He has been pitching good lately."

Lewis pitched for 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals Friday, and despite allowing six runs, said he felt like he was commanding his pitches well.

"My last outing, I felt like I threw the ball great, it was just one pitch that kind of dictated the game," Lewis said.

That one pitch turned into a three-run home run by Ian Desmond. The Nationals took the game 9-2.

Now 4-4 on the season with a 5.44 ERA, Lewis has the opportunity to tilt his record towards the winning side of the see-saw that has become his season.

"It seem like it's been -- to use a racing quote -- checkers or wreckers," said Lewis of the back-and-forth nature of his outings. "It seems like it's been really good, it's a win, or it's a loss. I definitely want to have more wins than losses. That's for sure."

He hopes the consistently positive results come soon, and it starts all over again Thursday.

"I think it's coming. I feel like every time I go out, I feel really, really good. I think it's just a situation where I've got to go out, have quick innings, and go deep in the ballgames," Lewis said. "It's what I've always wanted to do, what I've been trying to do since start No. 1. It's just not working out."

Rangers: Early work for young players
Third-base coach Gary Pettis had several of the Rangers young players out early on Wednesday working on their bunting. Basically any player who has a chance to bunt in the game was out working with Pettis.

The Rangers had a similar early workout last week in Minnesota to work on their baserunning technique. Manager Ron Washington said these early workouts are going to be common while the Rangers are trying to get so many young players acclimated to the big leagues.

"We've got a young group here and we have to work on a lot of fundamentals until we get good at it," Washington said. "We're going to work hard because we have to."

Orioles: Gonzalez's injury could be oblique
With Gonzalez having an MRI Wednesday and possibly headed to the disabled list, Tillman will get the start, on regular rest, with the Orioles contemplating having either Kevin Gausman or T.J. McFarland start Saturday if the results of Gonzalez's MRI are not favorable.

Gonzalez has turned in four consecutive quality starts for the Orioles and, while he reported to be slightly better on Wednesday than Tuesday, pain in that area is generally a pesky oblique issue. 

"He said he did a lot of ab work, two or three days ago, he thought that might be it," Showalter said of possible origins for the injury. "But he said, 'Heck, I've been doing that the whole year. For the most part.'"

While McFarland is currently in the Orioles bullpen, Gausman starte on Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk and had his outing shortened up so he can be an option for this weekend. 

Tillman, who was originally slated to get extra rest and go Saturday, took his regular side session on Tuesday. 

Worth noting
• Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus didn't start Wednesday against the Orioles, but did enter the game as a pinch-hitter and play in the field. He is expected to return to the starting lineup Thursday.

• Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis is 2-for-13 off Lewis with a .154 batting average. Both of his hits have been home runs.

• The Orioles headed into the Rangers matchup Wednesday with six games with 14 or more hits. Five of them were on the road. Comments