BOSTON - The Orioles avoided a sweep at Fenway Park and headed to New York in a much better frame of mind after tonight's 3-2 win over the Red Sox.
The Orioles improved to 15-24 in one run games. They had lost eight in a row.
Here's a sampling of comments from manager Buck Showalter:
On Chris Tillman:
"Difference. Tilly was solid again. I'm glad we could get a W for him. After the way the game ended last night with the flare to left, the very first hitter hits a ball off the end of the bat and squibs to third, a lot of times it tests your mettle. Tilly got right back on the bump. I thought the zero in the first inning was big."
On Tommy Hunter pitching on back-to-back nights:
"We found with Tommy if he's one up, he can pitch multiple days. It's the second up where you go back out for the second inning. We haven't dry-humped him in the bullpen hardly at all, and that affects pitchers more than anything, but I think we used Tommy in this fashion a long time. One of the other keys was Jim Johnson closing out a one-run lead against an American League East team on the road. He's done that a lot for us."
On whether this was a big game:
"We'll let you all look that up for us right now. We've got 30 games left and September is an eternity. A lot of people have been in the war. It's a long season that starts here shortly. It will edge by, and that will be good for us if we're trying to catch up. Don't sell us short."
More on Tillman:
"He's solid. There have been a couple of games he probably won this year that weren't esthetically pleasing. He's had some that we just weren't able to finish up. He was just a rock, pitched well the whole game. You see some good hitters not really squaring up his fastball. He had to get in there a little bit with (Shane) Victorino. I don't think anybody can get him out right now. I hope he starts hitting left-handed again. He looks pretty good from anywhere. He impresses. That was a good money move for them."
On Tillman finishing strong again in seventh:
"He makes it tough on me. He's at 111, 112 pitches, but it's also a sign of a guy who's emptying the tank. He's just letting it rip there. He threw some of his best fastballs that inning and that's kind of telling you, 'This is what I've got left and I'm going to let it rip there.' He's a lot more emotional guy than you think, and you see his reaction after the last out there in the seventh. And I liked our matchups in the eighth inning. As good as you can expect with that part of their order. They're tough."
On whether this was a must-win game:
"It's not something where, the season doesn't end. I had a conversation here with Mr. (Bob) Costas today. I'm just telling you, closing out a season on both sides of it is really, really hard. September, it will be a day-to-day question and I don't want to shoot all my good answers here in August."
On whether Tillman is an ace:
"You know (Jon) Lester's a good pitcher and you know runs are going to be sparse tonight. He had that look in his eye. He always had it. Now all the things he's gone through in the process of pitching are starting to kind of click for him, and when he's carrying multiple pitches that he can get over the plate, it's a tough presentation for the opposition. But it all starts with just his approach. This guy is, 'Here's mine. See what you can do.' He's going to come at you and he creates a good angle, some deception in his delivery. I think he trusts himself."
On Tillman's curveball being so good tonight:
"It's been good pretty much all year. It's just been a matter of the command. He's got a pretty consistent release point with it now."
On Jim Johnson getting a double play after Daniel Nava's infield hit:
"It's baseball. You've got a swinging bunt in the right place and two guys are trying to make a play and do the right thing and it didn't work. What do you do, go 'Woe is me?' No, you throw a good sinker and get a ground ball and move on. And then you can't dwell on that because (Jarrod) Saltalamacchia is sitting there. That's why it's the big leagues and it's why they're in first place. They've got weapons all through there. You can't let them up."
On Brian Matusz dominating David Ortiz:
"I'm not going to jinx him. There's no good matchups with their lineup. You're just picking your poison."