First baseman Chris Davis drove home the deciding run with a seventh-inning double and the Orioles moved over .500 for the first time since June 11 with a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night before an announced 15,106 at Camden Yards.
The victory was the fifth straight for the O's, who are averaging more than seven runs per game over the past seven games and have inched to within 1 ½ games of the second American League wild-card slot.
Right-hander Chris Tillman pitched 5 1/3 innings and again fell victim to some faulty command, walking four and allowing two home runs in his second start since returning to the rotation after a brief spell in the bullpen.
Still, he said that he felt better about command overall.
"I feel like it was as good as it's been all year,'' he said. "I felt I made a lot of pitches. I made a lot of pitches that I wanted to make. Other than two of the walks, I feel the command was better. The contact wasn't nearly as firm. A lot of soft contact. A lot of ground balls. That's your goal."
Tillman was effective and efficient through three innings, giving up just two hits and holding down his pitch count while the O's built a 3-1 lead, but he walked a pair of hitters in the fourth before left fielder Ben Gamel hit a two-out, three-run homer to temporarily give the Mariners the lead.
The Orioles answered immediately with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and added a run in the fifth on a home run by Adam Jones, but Gamel was having the night of his life. He came up with the bases loaded in the sixth and tied the game with a two-run single to center that gave him a career single-game high with five RBIs.
Reliever Mychal Givens allowed that hit, but the two runs that scored were charged to Tillman, who allowed six runs on just three hits. Donnie Hart and Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless inning before Zach Britton finished up with his first save since his American League-record streak of 60 consecutive converted save chances ended Wednesday.
The Orioles have averaged 7.3 runs per game over their past seven games and rolled out 16 hits Monday night. Manny Machado, Trey Mancini and Welington Castillo each had three hits, and everyone in the starting lineup had at least one.
"I think all around we're playing better,'' Tillman said. "We're definitely swinging the bats really well right now. Defensively, we're fun to watch. I enjoy watching this team show up every day, and I think the pitching is also better. It all starts and ends with pitching. If you don't pitch, you don't win."
Manager Buck Showalter doesn't talk about the standings much, but he acknowledged the importance of breaking through the .500 barrier after such a long time at or below that level.
"I think it's pretty obvious that if you're.500 or below, you're not going to the playoffs,'' he said. "That's the obvious thing, but until you take care of some other things, mathematically we know that's a given. That's what I take out of it, but we've got another game tomorrow that could take you back in a different direction. That's the world we live in."
Adam's 25th: When Jones went deep in the fifth inning, this became his seventh straight season with 25 home runs or more. That's the longest such streak in Orioles history, a distinction he shared with Cal Ripken Jr. at six straight until Monday night.
Jones owns the third-longest such streak among active players and the longest that is ongoing. He is back on pace to hit more than 30 homers for the third time in his career.
Gentry stays hot: Reserve outfielder Craig Gentry lined a bases-loaded single to left field in the fourth inning to tie the score after Tillman gave up a three-run homer in the top of the inning.
The hit raised his batting average with runners in scoring position to .333 (6-for-18) and kept him on a roll since returning from Triple-A Norfolk. He came back July 30 and is batting .359 (14-for-39) since then.
Base-running blunder: You know that baseball axiom about the folly of getting thrown out at third base with zero or two outs? Well, the same goes for second base if there is somebody at third.
Castillo drove in two runs with a single in the second inning, so he probably gets a pass for this, but he got himself thrown out at second to end the inning when he tagged up behind Davis on a flyout by Gentry with the sizzling Tim Beckham coming to the plate.
Jonathan Schoop also got thrown out on the bases trying to stretch a single after driving home Machado in the third inning, but his decision could be construed as an attempt to force a cutoff on the throw toward the plate.