O's game blog: Tonight's game and minor league award winners

After a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles host Seattle tonight to start a three-game series and 10-game homestand. They'll host the Mariners for three games, the Blue Jays for four and the Yankees for three at Camden Yards.

The Orioles recorded their first sweep of the Red Sox since June 9-11, 2015 at Camden Yards and the first series sweep at Fenway Park since Sept. 8-10, 2014. In the series, the Orioles outscored the Red Sox, 25-4. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the Orioles largest margin of victory in a road series sweep since 2004, when they outscored Tampa Bay 31-8 over three games at Tropicana Field. It was also the first time in Orioles history that the O's allowed as few as four runs in a series sweep of at least three games at Fenway Park.

Five teams are within 2 ½ games of the second AL wild card which is held by Minnesota (67-63). The Twins hold the spot by 1 ½ games over Los Angeles and Seattle with the Orioles two games back and Kansas City 2 ½ games out. Going further back Tampa Bay and Texas are just three games back of the Twins.

Right-hander Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.75 ERA) tonight will make his 19th appearance and 17th as a starter. He last pitched in a start Aug. 20 against the Angels. Over 5 1/3 innings he gave up four hits and four runs.

In 11 home starts, Tillman is 1-4 with a 6.02 ERA. He has fared well in his career versus the Mariners organization that drafted him the second round of the 2006 draft. In 11 games (10 starts) he is 7-1 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.116 WHIP against Seattle.

Lefty Marco Gonzales (0-1, 6.23 ERA) gets the start today for the Mariners. He was acquired July 21 from St. Louis for a minor league outfielder. Gonzales has made four starts for Seattle and none have gone past 4 2/3 innings. He faced the Orioles Aug. 16 in Seattle and gave up four runs and nine hits over 4 1/3.

Gonzales was the No. 19 overall draft pick by St. Louis in 2013. He missed a lot of the 2015 season with shoulder issues and missed the entire 2016 season after Tommy John surgery.

He made 14 starts this year between three minor league teams and the two organizations, going 8-4 with a 3.02 ERA. Over 86 1/3 innings, Gonzales has allowed 84 hits with 22 walks, 73 strikeouts and a batting average against of .208.

In the majors he has allowed a batting average against of .294 versus lefty batters, .362 against right-handed hitters and .333 when pitching with runners in scoring position.

Seattle is 66-65 with seven wins in the last 11 games. The Mariners are 5-4 on a 12-game East Coast swing that ends with this series. Seattle is 8-2 versus the Orioles the last two years, but 6-12 at Camden Yards since 2011.

Minor league honors: Double-A Bowie right-hander David Hess has been named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the period from Aug. 21-27.

In his lone start last week, Hess allowed just one hit with a walk and five strikeouts over a career-high eight shutout innings in a 2-0 win at Altoona on Saturday. The eight innings also tied a season-high by a Baysox pitcher.

Hess is 11-8 with an ERA of 3.91 in 26 games. In five starts this month, he is 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA. In 33 innings he walked seven, fanned 26 and allowed an average against of .169. Hess also won the Pitcher of the Week award in the Eastern League for the week of June 26-July 2.

Short season Single-A Aberdeen outfielder T.J. Nichting has been named Player of the Week in the New York-Penn League. In seven games for the period ending Sunday, Nichting went 11-for-30 (.367) with three doubles, two triples, two homers and five RBIs.

A ninth-round pick in June from UNC-Charlotte, Nichting has played 52 games for the IronBirds. The 22-year-old switch hitter is batting . 275/.314/.377 with 10 doubles, a triple, three homers and 28 RBIs. He is batting .316 in 25 games this month.

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