“He’s been throwing the hell out of the ball all year,” Jones said. “This is the year he takes a turn for the better. This is the year he loses that prospect status and starts to put himself in top-of-the-rotation conversation. He’s got the talent to do it.”
Tillman pitched seven shutout innings of two-hit ball to become the Orioles’ first 13-game winner since Erik Bedard in 2007 as they beat Boston.
He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and rolled from there, retiring 10 of the last 11 and 19 of the last 21 batters he faced tonight.
“Felt good,” Tillman said. “We were able to execute some pitches early in the game and that set it up for the rest of the way. I got a little out of whack there (in the first inning) but (Matt) Wieters made the right pitch selection to get me right back on track. Credit to him there.
“It’s a team achievement, not me (getting 13 wins). It wouldn’t happen if we weren’t swinging the bats the way we are or playing defense the way we are. It goes to show where this team is now compared to the past.”
Tillman felt he got stronger as the game went on.
“I feel like I get better as the game goes,” he said. “Throughout my career, I felt like I’ve been that way. If I can get in a groove early, so be it, but later in the game I feel more comfortable.”
Tillman’s 22 wins since since last July 4 are the second most in the majors behind Max Scherzer’s 23. In his last four starts against Boston, Tillman is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.68.
Jones produced his third career two-homer game and both shots he hit off John Lackey went over the right-field scoreboard.
“Late on them,” Jones said. “Fastballs middle of the plate and I was late on them. Hey, strong enough to get them out. You know me, I’m just trying to hit the ball hard foul line to foul line. Want to put the ball in play with some aggressiveness.
“I won’t say we had difficult days (recently) offensively. We ran into pitchers throwing the ball good and that happens. If we don’t get a run for five games, we’ll still go out there and hack. That is our style of play and tonight it worked.”
The Orioles have now won 15 of the last 20 and 25 of their last 35 games against Boston. They are 19-7 against the Red Sox since the start of the 2012 season.
Why do the O’s play so well against this team?
“I don’t know if there is any recipe for it. We just go after them,” Jones said. “I was telling Big Papi (David Ortiz) before the game, this isn’t Fenway South anymore, this is Camden Yards. He remembers when this place was all Boston, but now our fans are back supporting us.”
In the end, Jones got not one but two pies in the face courtesy of coaches Wayne Kirby and Jim Presley.
“Lot of clean up,” Jones said.
But he’ll take is as the Orioles take the first game of the big weekend series.