Tillman and the bullpen blank Boston 2-0

Chris Tillman struggled to throw consistent strikes early in this game tonight, but that didn’t stop him from shutting down the team that leads the majors in runs scored.

Tillman pitched six scoreless innings as the Orioles beat Boston 2-0 in front of 39,158 at Camden Yards.

With the win, the Orioles are 16-8 over the last 24 games and moved to within 1 1/2 games of first-place Boston.

Tillman gave up just three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches and improved to 7-2 with an ERA of 3.61. Tonight he recorded his ninth quality start over his last 11 outings. Tillman is 16-5 since the start of the 2012 season and has pitched to an ERA of 1.42 over his last three starts.

The Red Sox had just three hits in 21 at-bats against Tillman tonight after going 0-for-19 to end last night’s game against the Orioles bullpen.

Three relievers followed Tillman with Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson finishing off the shutout. It is Johnson’s league-leading 24th save and ninth in his last nine chances.

In their first four games against the Orioles this season - before tonight - Boston had scored 14 runs with a team batting average of .197, OBP of .238 and OPS of .596.

Chris Davis gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second with his big league-leading 22nd homer on a 0-1 pitch from Ryan Dempster. Over his last eight games against Boston, Davis is 10-for-27 with six homers and 10 RBIs.

Nate McLouth drew a leadoff walk in the third and scored on Adam Jones’ infield RBI single. In the fifth inning, McLouth stole his 23rd base to tie his career high, set in 152 games in 2008 with Pittsburgh. McLouth is 35-for-38 stealing bases since joining the Orioles.

Manny Machado went 3-for-4 tonight with two doubles to give him 30 on the year to lead the majors. His 95 hits leads the majors.

The Orioles have now won the first two games of this series and have won 13 of the last 17 and 23 of the last 32 against the Red Sox. They are 17-6 against the Sox since the start of the 2012 season and are the only AL East team that Boston does not have a winning record against this season.

The O’s are now a season-high 10 games over .500 (39-29) and have won five of six, eight of 12 and 11 of their last 16 games.

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