Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman did not make the American League All-Star team this year, but he will head into the midseason break as one of only six pitchers in the majors with 12 victories.
Tillman clearly bruised his All-Star credentials with a recent three-start slump during which he allowed 14 earned runs over 14 2/3 innings, but came back to pitch well in his final two starts of the non-mathematical first half, giving up just two runs on eight hits over 14 innings.
He gave up a first-inning RBI double to Angels slugger Mike Trout and then never looked back, allowing just two singles over the next six innings in a 106-pitch performance that featured 61 strikes. The Orioles are now 16-3 in his 2016 starts and both he and the club headed into the break with some much-needed momentum.
“I don’t worry too much about the personal stuff,’’ Tillman said, “but I think we had a pretty solid first half. We need to keep playing good baseball to get to where we want to be at the end of this deal.”
Tillman denied any disappointment over being left off the All-Star team and manager Buck Showalter said he selfishly was glad Tillman would get the full break to rest up for the second half.
“I know there’s one thing that Chris wants to really go to, and that’s the last game of the World Series,’’ Showalter said. “That’s what he’s really interested in.”
What offensive help Tillman needed came in the fourth inning, when Mark Trumbo led off with a single off Angels starter Tim Lincecum and Chris Davis blasted his 22nd home run of the season. The Orioles added another run in the sixth when a pop fly by Pedro Alvarez dropped in shallow left field and J.J. Hardy sent Lincecum packing with a sharp single to center.
The Angels narrowed that two-run lead with a run off All-Star setup man Brad Brach, but the runner got into scoring position on a two-base error by Trumbo, so the run did not affect Brach’s sub-1.00 ERA.
Hardy would drive in another run, in the eighth inning, with his third homer of the year and first since April 12.
Alvarez finished with three hits for the fifth time this season and Adam Jones also delivered three hits.
Closer Zach Britton completed a near-perfect first half with a scoreless ninth inning to record his 27th save in 27 opportunities.
It was the Orioles' second straight series victory over a Los Angeles team and it kept them two games ahead of the Red Sox and Blue Jays in the American League East standings. They have won four of five games since snapping out of a five-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium.
Their season will resume on the road Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Angels get a replay run: The first run of the game scored on that long double by Trout, but it didn’t get up on the scoreboard until Angels manager Mike Scioscia challenged an out call at the plate. Kole Calhoun came all the way around from first base and was originally ruled out on a close play after strong and accurate throws by Mark Trumbo and Jonathan Schoop, but the replay showed that Calhoun’s foot crossed the plate before Matt Wieters applied the tag.
Kim comes up sore: Hyun Soo Kim was removed from the game after the first inning with a strained right hamstring. He grounded out to second base in his first at-bat and looked slow running the play out. Joey Rickard replaced him in left field at the start of the second inning.
Lincecum solid: Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum struggled in his previous three starts for the Angels, pitched well through five innings on Sunday, giving up just the two-run homer to Chris Davis in the fourth. He looked like he would get through six after striking out the first two batters in the inning, but left the game after the Orioles tacked on a run against him.