Tillman struggles as O's fall to BoSox

BALTIMORE - After struggling in his last start, Chris Tillman attempted to bounce back with a good one on Thursday night.

The Orioles' starter was unsuccessful, however, as Baltimore (64-53) fell 6-3 to the Boston Red Sox before 25,483 at Camden Yards.

Given an early 3-1 lead, Tillman struggled through 4 2-3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits. The Orioles right-hander suffered his first no-decision of the season, after losing and giving up six runs in 5 2-3 innings in his last start on Saturday.

"They made me throw a lot of pitches all night long," Tillman said. "They fouled off some good pitches and they got in a lot of deep counts. I fell behind a lot and I had to make a lot of important pitches there."

Tillman had won four consecutive starts and five of his last six before his past two outings. He struck out five Boston batters Thursday, but struggled with his pitch count, throwing 110 pitches, 64 strikes.

"His stuff was good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You've got to tip your hat a little bit to Boston; they really made him work for everything. They had a lot of foul balls. He had a lot of counts in his favor but he couldn't finish hitters off. You've got to give them some credit for that."

Added Tillman: "There were a lot of situations where I had to make a big pitch. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. They got the best of me tonight."

Boston (58-61) entered the sixth inning with the game tied 3-3, but took the lead on a trio of RBI singles from Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and Cody Ross off of Baltimore relief pitcher Luis Ayala.

Ayala suffered the loss, falling to 4-4 on the season, after giving up three runs on four hits.

"I couldn't get in sync," Ayala said. "It's part of the game. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes not. But the most important thing is, [what] we've been doing with other teams, is to try to make good pitches in a tough situation."

Clay Buchholz (11-3) pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on eight hits, and striking out seven. Buchholz has traditionally had success when facing the Orioles, throwing all three of his career shutouts, and his lone no-hitter, against them.

After Buchholz struggled early on, the Boston right-hander allowed just one hit over the next 5 1-3 innings. Buchholz struck out seven and threw 107 pitches.

In his last five starts prior to Thursday, Buchholz had gone 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA.

"He's been pitching really well coming in," Showalter said. "We knew that. With guys like that, an inning or two you've got a shot against them."

Buchholz was hit hard by the Orioles in the first two innings. Nick Markakis and J.J Hardy hit a pair of opposite-field singles to begin the game, and later both scored on an Adam Jones two-run double down the right field line.

Mark Reynolds then continued his hot hitting in the second when he sent the first pitch over the center field wall. The solo homer was Reynold's 12th of the season, his fifth against the Red Sox, and his fourth in the last six games.

"I feel pretty good up there," Reynolds said. "It's still a work in progress up there. I'm taking it day-by-day. ... I'm still working my tail off. Just trying to stay where I'm at and not trying to get too comfortable. It's been a struggle. Maybe I'm coming out of it a little bit."

The Orioles finished the homestand 7-3, sweeping three against Seattle, splitting a four-game set with Kansas City, and taking two of three from Boston. Baltimore still remains in a wild card spot, despite not completing the sweep against Boston.

"We wanted to obviously sweep," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "Who doesn't want to sweep a team? You always want to get a sweep. But I'm proud of this team, 7-3 homestand. We battled, we've been battling. Sometimes it hasn't been pretty, but we've been grinding."

With the 10-game homestand coming to a close, the Orioles face a tough six-game road trip against playoff contenders in Detroit and Texas.

"We've got two teams that are first or second place in their division," Jones said, "so this is going to be a strong road trip, just like the last one was when we were in New York and Tampa. So this is kind of similar. We've got to go and play good baseball and as a team become victorious."

NOTES: Steve Johnson, who was scheduled to pitch this Saturday, made a relief appearance on Thursday, pitching two innings, giving up one hit, and striking out four. Showalter was unsure if he would still make his scheduled start. ... Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury went 0 for 4 with snapping his streak of 38 straight games with a hit against the Orioles.

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