Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore, right, gets congratulations from teammates during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Saturday, July 16, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)
Reinhold Matay
July 16, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Chris Tillman was the difference Saturday night - and it wouldn't be a stretch to say the right-hander has been the difference for the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East race so far this season.

Tillman became the American League's second 13-game winner, backed by J.J. Hardy's two-run homer, in Baltimore's 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Orioles, who have won four straight overall, are 9-0 in Tillman's starts against their division rivals.

''Team wins are important,'' said Tillman, who has given up one run or fewer in his last three starts. ''All the personal stuff goes by the wayside when it comes to winning ballgames. That's our approach and it's good to be a part of it.''

Tillman (13-2) gave up one run and four hits and struck out three in seven innings. Only Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox has more wins (14) among major league pitchers.

Brad Brach threw a perfect eighth and Zach Britton struck out two in the ninth for his 29th save as the Orioles maintained a two-game lead over the Boston Red Sox.

Hardy's fourth home run of the season came off Matt Moore (5-7) after Matt Wieters' two-out double in the second.

''(Tillman) had good command. He had three walks, but it didn't feel like it,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ''He was the difference. It's not very often that a two-run homer stands up, but it did.''

Logan Morrison scored Tampa Bay's run after a leadoff triple in the fourth that was originally called a home run before being overturned by an umpire replay review. The ball was ruled to have hit the top of the wall in left field and back into play, and Morrison was given a triple. Steven Souza Jr. then drove in Morrison with a single, but it was the final hit of the game for the Rays, who have lost eight straight and 24 of 27.

''It stinks when you lose a ballgame on one pitch,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''That kind of sums it up how it's been going for us.''

Moore, who has two of the Rays' three wins since June 15, pitched 7 1/3 innings, his longest start of the season, giving up two runs on five hits.


Hardy hit his second home run in nine at-bats after hitting two in his first 155 at-bats, and stretched his personal hitting streak to nine games. It is a direct result of his healed left shoulder. ''I'm not thinking of the shoulder at all,'' he said. ''I know I was a lot last year, but I'm not thinking about it anymore. I think that's the biggest thing.''


Orioles: OF Hyun Soo Kim (right hamstring) was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Showalter said it will determined after a workout Sunday if Kim will need to go on the disabled list. ... Showalter said RHP Darren O'Day (strained right hamstring) looked ''crisp'' during a bullpen session and will take part in a simulated game Tuesday.

Rays: INF Steve Pearce (strained right hamstring) started a rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte. ... OF Desmond Jennings (strained left hamstring) continued taking batting practice and has started a running program.


Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (2-1) makes his first major league start in Sunday's series finale. The fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft has thrown 38 innings in 22 relief appearances this season. He was limited to a combined 17 minor league games the previous two years after Tommy John surgery in 2013. ''First major league start for anybody is going to be exciting,'' Bundy said.

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-5), whose recent starts have been scouted by many playoff-contending teams, will go against Bundy.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)