Over his past six starts this month, Tillman has pitched to a 2.68 ERA and has recorded five quality starts. Very quietly, Tillman has grown to become one of the Orioles' most dependable starters. Since June 25, 2012, he is 18-5, and his .783 winning percentage in that span trails only Detroit's Max Scherzer (22-2, .917) and Oakland's Bartolo Colon (15-4, .789) among AL starters with at least 12 decisions in that span.

Tillman loaded the bases in the second inning — and allowed the first Yankees run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to leadoff man Brett Gardner — but averted further damage by inducing an inning-ending pop-up from Ichiro Suzuki.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, reinstated from the 60-day disabled list before the game, made his first start at Camden Yards in nearly a year. Roberts, who injured his right hamstring three games into the regular season this year in Tampa Bay, received a standing ovation from a smattering of fans when he stepped to the plate for the first time at Camden Yards since last July 1 — his 2012 season ended just 17 games in with a hip injury.

“My first at-bat was definitely special for me,” said Roberts, who had been limited to 118 games over the past four seasons because of injuries. “To be here as long as I have and go through so many ups and downs, you don’t really know sometimes if people are just tired of you or [if] they really want you out there still. I said to somebody that I think my journey people can relate to.”

In his second at-bat, Roberts — who was the club's starting designated hitter in his first game since April 4 — singled to center off Kuroda in the fifth inning.

Orioles reliever Darren O'Day walked the No. 7 and No. 9 hitters in the seventh to put two on with no out, but O'Day retired lefties Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki to end the threat.

Kuroda (7-6) lasted six innings, but was chased from the game in the seventh after Matt Wieters opened the frame with a single, following by a J.J. Hardy double. Wieters would score on Roberts' sacrifice fly to medium center field to give the Orioles a 4-2 lead.

After Troy Patton and Tommy Hunter combined for a perfect eighth inning, Johnson converted his 28th save of the season, despite bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.

Johnson, making his first appearance since blowing a save and taking a loss Wednesday, allowed a leadoff double to Lyle Overbay and hit Chris Stewart with a pitch with one out.

The Orioles closer recovered, striking out David Adams on a foul tip and then getting Gardner to ground into a game-ending fielder's choice to second baseman Alexi Casilla.

“I think we can compete every night,” Johnson said. “Our offense is one of the best. You’re witnessing something special in what Chris Davis is doing and our defense, every night there’s something exciting that’s going to happen when we’re playing. It makes coming to the ballpark fun. We all get along and we talked about chemistry last year and that’s carried over to this year. I think we’re all excited to where this ends up taking us.”

eencina@baltsun.com

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