With a chance to complete a road sweep of one of the best teams in the AL, the Baltimore Orioles will start one of the most successful pitchers of the past two years.
Baltimore (55-43) has won four in a row in this season series after losing the first two meetings. The Orioles scored in each of the first three innings for a 7-0 lead Saturday and held on for a 7-4 victory to move a season-best 12 games over .500.
Chris Davis remained stuck on a major-league best 37 home runs but had two hits after entering with an .088 (3 for 34) average against his former team.
Davis has homered in each of Tillman's last six starts, with Baltimore scoring 38 runs in those games.
A late addition to the All-Star team, Tillman (11-3, 3.95 ERA) is 8-1 in his past 10 starts despite a 4.34 ERA. He's only pitched past the sixth inning once in his last seven outings and has been helped by a 6.29 run-support average, among the highest in the AL."I've said it a hundred times - the quicker you get these guys back in the dugout and in the batter's box, the more is going to happen," Tillman said.
While fortunate, Tillman has also been good enough to go 20-6 since the start of last season. His .769 winning percentage ranks behind Detroit's Max Scherzer (29-8, .784) for the league lead during that span.
Tillman continued his trend of slow starts July 12 against Toronto, but settled down to allow three runs over six innings of an 8-5 win. Twelve of the 50 runs the right-hander has surrendered this year have come in the second inning.
He's won his last two starts against the Rangers, both in Arlington, giving up three earned runs in 14 innings.
Texas (54-43) has lost six of seven, totaling 16 runs and going 6 for 43 with runners in scoring position during that span."It's obvious we need to pitch better, it's obvious we need to play the type of defense we know we can play," manager Ron Washington said. "And it's obvious we need to start hitting with runners in scoring position."
The lack of offense could leave little room for error for Martin Perez (3-2, 3.00), who is coming off his worst outing of the season.
The left-hander went 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA during a four-start stretch, including an 8-4 win at Baltimore on July 9 in which he gave up four runs - two earned - in six innings. However, Perez allowed five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-0 loss at Detroit last Sunday.
He surrendered a career-high three homers after giving up two in his first 30 1-3 innings this year.
|July 14, 2013||Nolan Reimold||15-Day DL||Nerve inflammation in cervical spine|
|June 20, 2013||Steve Pearce||15-Day DL||Left wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2013||Jason Hammel||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 06, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 24, 2013||Pedro Strop||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 10, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 06, 2013||Nick Tepesch||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|June 21, 2013||Craig Gentry||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Chris Tillman continued the run of consistent starting pitching for the surging Baltimore Orioles .
He excelled over eight innings and the Orioles earned a 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday night to compete the three-game sweep.
"Chris does things the right way," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Usually there's good karma when he pitches."
Tillman (12-3), who was added to the AL All-Star team as an injury replacement but did not pitch Tuesday night at Citi Field, gave up two runs and six hits while striking out seven.
He held the slumping Rangers, who have lost four in a row and seven of eight, in check until Adrian Beltre chased him with a leadoff homer in the ninth. Darren O'Day got two outs against his former team to earn his second save.
"(Tillman's) fastball was working for him and he had a handle on all three of his off-speed pitches," catcher Matt Wieters said.
"I knew I could put any finger down and know he'd be around the plate and could get a swing and a miss."
The Orioles (56-43) moved a season-high 13 games over .500 with its seventh victory in eight games, a run that has been keyed by consistent starting pitching. Baltimore starters are 7-1 in its past eight games.
Baltimore leads the Rangers by 1 1/2 games for the AL's second wild-card spot. The Orioles beat Texas in Arlington in last year's AL wild-card game.
"They're a lethal team," Showalter said "I feel sorry for whoever they play against next. We hope to be in the playoff hunt, and we know (the Rangers) will be there at the end."
Wieters had two hits and scored twice as the bottom half of the Baltimore lineup did the most damage. The last five hitters in the order scored all four runs, drove in three and had seven of the Orioles' 10 hits.
Wieters is hitting .438 with a home run, two RBIs and four runs in the past four games.
"I wish I could tell you why," Wieters said. "I just have to continue to grind, continue to work and get some pitches I could drive. Just keep plugging along."
Martin Perez (3-3) pitched 6 1-3 innings for the Rangers (54-44), giving up four runs and nine hits. He didn't get much help from his defense.
"Very uncharacteristic baseball," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Plays that we usually take pride in making we just haven't made them. Sometimes the game finds you in that position. We're going to keep grinding."
Neal Cotts , Joakim Soria and Cory Burns came out of the bullpen to combine for 2 2-3 shutout innings. Texas relievers have thrown 19 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings.
Nate McLouth led off the game with a single for the third straight game, but Baltimore didn't really get going until the second inning.
That's when Rangers left fielder David Murphy lost Chris Davis ' fly ball in the sun for a leadoff double. Davis scored on Wieters' single for a 1-0 lead.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus made an error on a potential double play grounder that instead left the bases loaded with nobody out.
Brian Roberts singled to make it 2-0, but Perez got out of the jam with consecutive strikeouts and a groundout.
In the third, Wieters doubled past a diving Beltre at third base and J.J. Hardy put the Orioles up 3-0 with a double that sailed over Craig Gentry 's head in center field.
Baltimore added its fourth run in the fourth. Roberts started the inning with a double and scored on Manny Machado 's single that caromed off Perez's glove and into center field.
Texas scored in the fifth on Ian Kinsler 's RBI single to right, but Murphy got caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out by Wieters. That made it twice in three games that a Rangers runner was thrown out after rounding third and trying to get back to the bag.
Beltre's home run was the first by a Rangers player since his two-run shot in the ninth inning against Detroit on July 13.
NOTES: Rangers LHP Matt Harrison , on the disabled list because of a herniated disk that required two operations in late April and early May, threw a 45-pitch bullpen session Saturday and will throw 60-65 pitches Monday. The team's opening day starter said he plans to throw batting practice Wednesday. "My goal is the end of August or early September, but if things go good, maybe we can speed that up," Harrison said. ... Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando (shoulder inflammation) is slated to come off the disabled list Tuesday and start against the New York Yankees . His last appearance was against Boston on June 5.