Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Tillman, Davis lift O's past Red Sox

BALTIMORE - Chris Tillman struggled early in Friday's game with a high pitch count and too many walks. But he was still able to hold the Boston Red Sox scoreless for six innings.

And then the Baltimore Orioles' bullpen did the same for three, a night after all but one Orioles reliever was used.

That stellar pitching led the Orioles to a 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox before 39,158 at Camden Yards. Boston (41-28) was able to muster only three hits, as Baltimore (39-29) now trails the Red Sox by just 1 1-2 games in the American League East.

It was the first time the Orioles shut out the Red Sox since Sept. 13, 2006.

"Early, I struggled with command a little bit with all my pitches. I was able to make an adjustment mid-game," Tillman said. "Making mid-game adjustments, that's part of the game. You're not going to have it every day. Early in the game was definitely a struggle for me."

Tillman (7-2) gave up three hits in his six innings of work. In the first four innings, Tillman walked a batter each inning.

But the Red Sox left on a total of six runners in those innings.

"You can't ever drop your guard," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think more than anything, Chris doesn't do that. He keeps pitching."

It was Tillman's third straight win, all in the month of June. Over those starts, he has given up just three earned runs over 19 innings.

The right-handed starter said he hopes he can keep it going, even on nights where he doesn't have his best stuff like Friday.

"I hope I'm able to make adjustments like I did every game, every start," Tillman said. "I hope I don't need to."

Baltimore's relief corps of Darren O'Day, Tommy Hunter, and Jim Johnson held Boston hitless over the final three frames, as they faced the minimum nine batters.

Johnson earned his 24th save.

"I thought Tilly did a good job tonight going deep in the game, throwing scoreless inning after scoreless inning," Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said. "And then to hand the ball off to Darren, Tommy, and Jim in that order, it was like clockwork."

The bullpen has now pitched nine straight hitless innings.

"Right now, things are going our way and we're throwing strikes, throwing the ball where we want it, and we're pitching pretty effectively late in the game," Hunter said.

Most nights, two runs wouldn't be enough to win. But it was for the Orioles on Friday.

Both runs came early against Boston starter Ryan Dempster (4-7). Davis put Baltimore on top in the bottom of the second, leading off with his major league-leading 22nd home run of the season, an opposite-field solo shot to left-center.

The next inning, Adam Jones legged out an RBI infield single to put the Orioles up 2-0.

Dempster entered the game with a great track record against Baltimore. In three career starts, the right-hander was 1-0 with a 1.47 ERA.

He gave up just a pair of runs on five hits in 7 2-3 innings, but was saddled with the loss as he got no run support.

Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a double in the first inning. He doubled again in the eighth, his major-league leading 30th, and finished 3 for 4.

Baltimore moved 10 games over .500 for the first time this season. Showalter said it's still too early in the season to be scoreboard watching, however.

"It just keeps you grounded on what you have to do every day, and those things take care of themselves," Showalter said.

Hunter said the team is happy with we're they're at, but never satisfied.

"We're on our way there but we haven't clicked yet," Hunter said. "We're waiting for that little run and it's going to be exciting when that happens, and hopefully this is maybe the start of it."