The Baltimore Orioles used a phenomenal start by Chris Tillman and Nick Markakis supplied just enough offense to secure a series win with a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three game set.
Baltimore continued their recent theme of tight, low scoring ball games on Sunday as eight of their last nine games have now been decided by one run, and thanks to Tillman (8-5), the Birds came out on top.
Outside of one inning, Tillman was pretty much unhittable on Sunday. Over seven shutout innings, he allowed just four hits on the day, with two of them coming in the second inning. Once his day was done, he had tossed seven innings, while allowing four hits, zero runs, zero walks and six strikeouts and threw 101 pitches, 65 of which were for strikes.
He escaped an early jam as he had runners on first and third with one out in the second inning, but was able to come back and strikeout the next two hitters to get out of the inning unscathed. Tillman bounced back nicely as he was at 56 pitches through three innings, but was able to get back on track and give the Orioles seven strong innings.
Andrew Miller came in relief of Tillman to begin the eighth and was filthy as his slider looked like he was throwing a whiffle ball and he retired the side in order.
Zach Britton came on in the ninth and tossed a scoreless inning to pick up his 23rd save of the season. Britton also extended his franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings at home to 35 1/3 innings. It also marked the 27th straight scoreless appearance at home by Britton, which ties the franchise record for consecutive scoreless appearances at home set by Brian Matusz (June 16, 2013 – May 25, 2014).
Markakis did not only get the Orioles on the board right away with his first career leadoff home run, but his single in the third inning gave him 1,500 hits for his career and he became just the second outfielder in club history to collect 1,500 hits, joining Brady Anderson.
Markakis would finish the game with three of the five Orioles hits and a triple away from the cycle. David Lough and Manny Machado got the other two hits on the day for the Birds.
Baltimore finished their 16-game stretch against the top three teams in the AL West going 10-6, including 4-2 during their six-game home stand. They are now done against the AL West for the remainder of the regular season and finished 21-11 which is a MLB best against the AL West. It marked the second consecutive season that the Orioles will have a .600 winning percentage or higher against the AL West, and it marks the first time the franchise has done that since 1979-80.
The win was also the first time in club history that the Orioles have won a game 1-0 with the lone run coming via leadoff home run.
The Birds will now head down the Beltway for a makeup game against the Washington Nationals before heading north of the Border for three games against the Toronto Blue Jays in a key AL East series.
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