Tillman, Orioles knock Red Sox out of first place

Baltimore Orioles batter Adam Jones is greeted by teammate Nick Markakis (L) after connecting for a first inning, two-run homer off of Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey during the first inning of their American League baseball game in Baltimore on Friday night. The Orioles won 6-0.
DOUG KAPUSTIN | REUTERS
Baltimore Orioles batter Adam Jones is greeted by teammate Nick Markakis (L) after connecting for a first inning, two-run homer off of Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey during the first inning of their American League baseball game in Baltimore on Friday night. The Orioles won 6-0.
Posted July 26, 2013, at 11:13 p.m.

BALTIMORE — The pitching of Chris Tillman plus the power of Adam Jones and a few friends proved to be a problem the Red Sox couldn’t solve Friday night.

Tillman threw seven shutout innings, and Jones homered twice as the Baltimore Orioles banged out four homers and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox Friday night at Camden Yards.

The loss also knocked Boston out of first place in the American League East. Tampa Bay’s victory over the Yankees gave the Rays (61-42) a one-half game lead over Boston (61-43), who’d been in first place alone since May 27.

Tillman turned in a dominating performance after a shaky start. He escaped from a bases-loaded situation with two outs in the first, and the Red Sox couldn’t touch him after that.

Tillman (13-3) retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced and allowed just two hits in his seven innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

“I felt good,” Tillman said. “I think I was able to execute some pitches early in the game, and I think that set it up for the rest of the way. I got a little out of whack (in the first, but catcher Matt) Wieters made great pitch selection to get me right back on line.”

Tillman became the first 13-game winner in Baltimore since Erik Bedard did it six years ago. Once again, the right-hander dodged some early troubles and never looked back.

That’s becoming a bit of a pattern for him in recent starts.

“He’s certainly developing quite a track record,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You hear a lot of people talk about good pitchers — that you need to get them early before they find their stuff. He’s kind of following that mode. He was a difference-maker tonight.”

Jones helped out with his two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the fifth. This was the third multihomer game of Jones’ career, the last coming in 2012. He has now hit 22 homers this season with 74 RBIs.

The Orioles (58-46) also got solo homers from Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy, but Jones helped give Tillman an early cushion.

“You know me; I’m just trying to hit the ball hard,” Jones said. “I don’t care where the ball goes. You want to put the ball in play with some aggressiveness. Tonight, they snuck out.”

Boston starter John Lackey (7-8) gave up three homers and allowed five runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. Those three homers were the most Lackey’s given up in a game this season.

The Orioles took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Tillman escaped the bases-loaded jam with two outs in the top half, Jones hit a two-run homer off Lackey in the bottom half. The Red Sox never could answer.

“We had the makings of a good inning in the first,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We couldn’t push one across, and then Tillman settled in and threw a lot of strikes.”

Jones hit a shot to right that just made it over the scoreboard. The homer also scored Nick Markakis, who singled before Jones’ blast. Lackey later had to battle through a 10-pitch at-bat before getting Wieters out and needed 30 pitches to get through the inning.

The Orioles added another run in the third. Nate McLouth led off with a triple to center that glanced off Jacoby Ellsbury’s glove, and Machado followed with an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

Baltimore threatened again in the fourth, but Boston right fielder Shane Victorino threw out Hardy at the plate. The Orioles shortstop was trying to score on a Brian Roberts single, but Victorino’s one-hop throw to the plate beat Hardy, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia tagged him out.

Jones, Machado and Hardy added solo homers for the final three runs.

NOTES: The Baltimore Sun reported Friday afternoon that the Orioles placed outfielder Chris Dickerson on outright waivers. If not claimed, Dickerson could then be outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, unless he declines. He is eligible to decline and that would make him a free agent. … Machado snapped an 0-for-9 skid with his RBI single in the third inning. … The Red Sox are one of just two teams in the major leagues (Atlanta is the other) whose record has been above .500 all season long. Boston’s 1946 team was the last one to go this far into a season and remain with a winning record throughout. … Dustin Pedroia needs four home runs to reach 100 for his career. The second baseman signed a eight-year contract earlier this week.

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