Tillman through the sixth (O’s lose 3-1)

An Orioles starter has exceeded five innings for the second time in the last eight games.

It’s Chris Tillman again today.

Tillman has allowed three runs and five hits over six innings, with one walk, four strikeouts and two home runs. He’s thrown 111 pitches, 71 for strikes.

The Rays expanded their lead to 3-1 in the sixth on a controversial home run by Matt Joyce. The umpires ruled it a double. Orioles manager Buck Showalter thought the ball was foul. Rays manager Joe Maddon thought it hit the bottom corner of the right field foul pole.

Joyce stood at second base, and neither manager thought he belonged there.

It took roughly forever for the umpiring crew to decide to review the play. Two of them met with Showalter and the other two met with Maddon. Then all four met with Maddon. Showalter had their undivided attention at times. It was a bizarre scene.

MASN replays seemed to indicate that Joyce should be awarded the home run, and the umpires finally agreed.

Rays 3, Orioles 1

I’ve been asked many times today whether Jim Johnson will get the save opportunity today if the Orioles take a slim lead into the ninth inning. Despite throwing 32 pitches yesterday. Despite blowing saves in back-to-back outings.

In a word, “yes.”

Here are more words from manager Buck Showalter:

“If we got a one-run lead today, Jimmy will be pitching in it,” Showalter said. “Two, three, maybe four.”

The Orioles will need to rally.

Johnson has blown his last two save chances, allowing seven runs and seven hits, after successfully converting a club-record 35 straight dating back to last July. It’s worth noting that he had a similar stretch in 2012 despite saving a franchise-record 51 games, blowing two saves in a span of seven games from July 16-27 - pitching to a 20.25 ERA by allowing 12 earned runs and 15 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Following his appearance on July 27 against Oakland, Johnson went 1-0 with a 0.36 ERA and 21 saves over 25 innings. He allowed 17 hits, walked four and struck out 17 in his final 26 outings of the year.

Johnson leads the majors with 72 saves since Sept. 11, 2011.

He will remain the Orioles’ closer despite what happened last week.

Update: T.J. McFarland has replaced Tillman, who recorded his sixth consecutive quality start.

The Orioles stranded two more runners in the sixth, wasting singles by Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. They’re 1-for-7 with RISP today.

Update II: The Orioles lost their fifth consecutive game today, falling to the Rays 3-1 before 37,704 at Camden Yards.

McFarland gave the Orioles 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Pedro Strop got the last two outs in the ninth. Pitching wasn’t the issue today.

Strop has allowed one earned run in his last 11 1/3 innings over 13 appearances.

The Orioles scored their fewest runs since being shut out by the Angels’ Jason Vargas on May 3. They went 1-for-7 with RISP and stranded five runners.

The Orioles are three games above .500, the lowest since being 12-9 on April 24.

Now they get CC Sabathia and the Yankees on Monday night.

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