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Colon earns win, hurls seven solid frames

The Orioles and Yankees will make an appeal to their organizational depth Saturday, when they reach down to their respective farm systems in preparation for a rare doubleheader. New York will recall Ivan Nova, while Baltimore will promote Chris Tillman and Zach Britton to start both ends of the twin bill.

These two teams haven't played a doubleheader against each other since September 2003, a double-dip that wound up in a split at the old Yankee Stadium. New York will start veteran Bartolo Colon against Tillman in Saturday's opener, while Britton and Nova will face off in the second game of the day.

Colon, who began the season in the bullpen, made six starts in May and two more in June before hitting the disabled list due to a strained left hamstring. Colon has gone 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list, and the Yankees are hoping he can stay intact through October.

For the Yankees -- and for manager Joe Girardi -- bringing Nova back is simply part of a larger plan. Nova is 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 17 appearances for the Yankees this season, but New York had to option him back to Triple-A Columbus a few weeks ago in order to make room on the staff for Phil Hughes.

Girardi, for his part, said he didn't regret the decision to send Nova down to the Minors.

"The guy that we brought back into the rotation won 18 games last year, and there aren't a lot of people that do that ever year," said Girardi of his decision to move Hughes back into the rotation. "We thought there were things that Nova could also work on as he went down. It's unfortunate he got hit with the line drive and had one start cut short, but no. We had a guy that won 18 games the year before coming back."

The Orioles, meanwhile, will be going to two arms that were expected to play a big part in their resurgence. Tillman, acquired from Seattle in the Erik Bedard trade, has struggled to realize his vast potential and will go into Saturday's game with a 6-13 record and a 5.35 career ERA in 33 starts.

"It's a process. It's a battle. I've got to focus on my start. I can't look ahead to what's going to happen in the future from here on out," said Tillman, who was 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk. "Everything that went on in the past is in the rearview mirror. Hopefully, we'll run with it and see where it takes us."

Britton, meanwhile, went down to Double-A Bowie to get himself back on track after an errant June. Britton, a former third-round draftee, is 6-7 with a 4.05 ERA through his first 18 big league starts, but the Orioles thought he could use a brief refresher after a June that saw him go 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA.

"It was around what I thought it was going to be," said Britton of his demotion. "But you never know, it could be longer, could be shorter. So I was just making sure I wasn't too focused on, 'Hey, how am I going to be down here longer?' So I just stayed focused on doing something every day to make me better."

Orioles: Britton ready to make most of second chance
Britton said he spent the past few weeks on sharpening his breaking ball, a necessity because he had become overly reliant on his fastball against Major League hitters. The left-hander said he still wasn't certain that he needed to be demoted, but in any case, he tried to make the best of it.

"It was kind of like a little breather for me. It was like, 'OK, what did I do up there that helped me be successful? What did I do up there that I need to get better at? So I think it was a good period for me."

Yankees: Club will watch Colon's workload
The Yankees will watch Colon carefully in an attempt to make sure he doesn't wear himself out ahead of the postseason. The right-hander has struggled with various injuries in recent seasons, and hasn't thrown more than his current total of innings -- 104 -- since winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2005.

Worth noting
• The Yankees are 17-6 in their last 23 home games.

• The Orioles are the only Major League team to have both a shortstop and a third baseman with more than 10 home runs.

• Baltimore has been shut out six times this season, with four of them coming in July.

• The Orioles are in a skid of eight series without a victory.

• The Yankees are 19 games over .500 and have been above .500 every day since Opening Day.

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