Tillman on Johnson, Guthrie on his return (updated)

After the Orioles had won their game last night, the result came in from Boston where Minnesota beat the Red Sox 15-8. Former Oriole Pedro Florimon knocked in a career-high three runs and help his former O's teammates move into a first-place tie with Boston at 21-13.

While the Orioles have won four in a row, Boston has lost five of its last six games.

After Chris Tillman got the win last night against Kansas City, he took some time to talk about teammate Jim Johnson, who tied Randy Myers' club record with his 34th straight save in the game. Tillman said he marvels at Johnson's talents in the ninth inning.

"Absolutely. This guy is good at what he does," Tillman said. "I sit in the video room and get to watch him every night. It's fun to watch. I wish I had stuff like he does.

"He's got everything. A two-seam fastball, a changeup, that breaking ball. He doesn't have a weak spot in his repertoire," Tillman said.

During his 34-game streak, Johnson's ERA is 0.63, he has a WHIP of 0.86 and a 4.13 strikeout-to-walks ratio.

Since Sept. 7 of 2011, Johnson has saved 71 games, the most in Major League Baseball. The Braves' Craig Kimbrel is a distant second with 56 saves. Johnson has saved 71-of-74 games in that span, a success rate of 95.9 percent.

Last night he needed just 10 pitches to close out the game and wrap up another close O's win with little drama.

The Orioles are now 9-5 in games decided by two runs or less. With a one-run difference, the O's record is 6-4 and a 3-1 mark in games decided by two runs. The Orioles began the year 0-4 in games decided by two or fewer runs, but are 9-1 since.

Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie has made 80 career appearances and 78 career starts on the mound at Camden Yards - but never where he's pitched against the Orioles.

Guthrie will do that tonight. He's looking forward to the challenge.

"I think this is one of the greatest parks to pitch in," Guthrie said. "Fans are good and it's obviously beautiful and it will be fun to compete against guys that are former teammates and friends."

A reporter asked Guthrie yesterday if he had a favorite memory of his time with the Orioles?

"I have a lot of them. I couldn't single out one but a ton of fun moments for sure over five years," Guthrie said. "I got my first win as a starter (in Baltimore) against the Rays. We had a great win over CC Sabathia here in his first game as Yankee."

Guthrie is making some good memories with his new team. He is 9-0 over his last 17 starts with Kansas City, a Royals record for most consecutive starts without taking a loss.

Guthrie is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in six starts this season and in 20 career K.C. starts, he is 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA. Here is more with Guthrie talking about his return to Baltimore.

Guthrie has not allowed a run over his last two starts, covering 15 2/3 innings. Tonight, on the mound where he was the Orioles opening day starter in 2008, 2009 and 2011, he will pitch against the O's for the first-time ever.

Update: The Kansas City Star reported today and I've confirmed that the Orioles have acquired third baseman Brandon Wood from the Royals for cash. He is headed to Triple-A Norfolk, which already has a pretty crowded infield. Some fans have speculated that this could be a precursor to a callup of Jonathan Schoop, but I have heard that is not the case and Schoop is not being called up now. This is simply a player the Orioles like and they had the chance to get him. He is expected to report to the Tides tomorrow and at that point the Orioles will have to make roster room for Wood at Norfolk.

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