Thome, Tillman and Flaherty lead O’s past Cleveland 3-1

The Orioles used two big swings and several big pitches to pick up another big win.

Jim Thome hit a two-run homer in the seventh to back the strong pitching of Chris Tillman as the Orioles beat Cleveland 3-1 at Progressive Field to take the first two games of this series.

The Orioles went into the seventh down 1-0 to the Tribe as Shin-Soo Choo led off the last of the first with a homer. But after a J.J. Hardy single, Thome smoked a line drive off Zach McAllister that just made it over the right-field wall to give the O’s a one-run lead.

Over his last six games, Thome is 9-for-26 (.346) with three doubles, two homers and four RBIs after going 5-for-25 without an extra-base hit in his first seven Orioles games.

An inning later, Ryan Flaherty hit a booming solo shot homer to center field to give the O’s the 3-1 edge. Flaherty hit two homers in his first 102 Orioles at-bats and now has two in two games and eight at-bats at Cleveland.

Tillman, meanwhile, delivered a nice bounceback performance after getting knocked out in the first inning Monday. He pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up just six hits and one run with one walk and four strikeouts. Tillman threw 116 pitches and improved to 2-1 with an ERA of 1.15 in three starts.

Orioles starters have now put together four straight quality starts for the first time since May 15-18 and the starters ERA is 2.28 over those four games. The season high is five in a row from April 28-May 2.

The Orioles’ record when their starter records a quality start is now 37-5 .

Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth to record his third save on this road trip and 29th on the season.

The Orioles improve to 50-44 with their fourth win in a row, which followed a stretch when they lost six of seven games. They are now 27-22 in road games and 5-4 since the All-Star break.

The Orioles are 33-14 in games decided by two runs or less.

Now 4-2 on this road trip, the O’s can clinch their first winning trip since May 16-20 at Kansas City and Washington with a victory in either of the two remaining games in this series.

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