Tillman outduels Verlander as O's win 6th straight
By Andrew Simon and Ben Standig
BALTIMORE -- Chris Tillman fired seven scoreless innings to outduel Justin Verlander, and Adam Jones broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with his 200th career home run, as the Orioles extended their winning streak to six by beating the Tigers, 1-0, on Friday night at Camden Yards.
Baltimore improved to 22-12 with its 11th victory in 15 games. Despite a strong outing from Verlander, Detroit lost for the 10th time in 11 games, falling to 15-20.
Tillman (5-1) lowered his ERA to 2.58 before giving way to Darren O'Day and Zach Britton, who recorded his 10th save. It was the fifth straight quality start for Tillman, who allowed five hits, walked two and struck out seven. The right-hander has picked up seven or more strikeouts in four consecutive outings, doubling his previous career-long streak.
"I feel good right now," Tillman said. "I think mechanically I'm in a good place and I'm able to execute all my pitches when I need to, not necessarily throwing fastballs in a fastball count, but I'm able to throw some other things that I'm not used to doing. It's fun right now, and I'll try to keep it going."
Verlander (2-4) matched Tillman for five innings, but with one out in the sixth, Jones hit his fourth homer of the season for a 1-0 lead. The Tigers righty wound up with the tough-luck complete-game loss, allowing four hits and two walks over eight innings while striking out eight.
"It was a little up and away," Verlander said of the pitch to Jones. "I know he's an aggressive hitter. I can't regret the pitch that I threw. It's what I wanted to go with. It's kind of one of those games where the first person to blink is going to lose. Unfortunately, it was me."
O'Day and Britton handled the eighth and ninth innings for the second straight night. The Orioles' bullpen has thrown 14 2/3 scoreless innings during the team's winning streak and leads the Majors in ERA this season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Jones hits the mark: Jones jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Verlander and crushed it over the wall in left-center field to break the scoreless tie, with Statcast™ measuring the exit velocity at 104 mph and projecting the blast to land 412 feet away from home plate. The homer not only was Jones' 200th -- including 197 with the Orioles -- but it also continued his recent hot streak. Slumping for much of the season, Jones has hit three of his four homers over his past four games, with nine total hits and seven RBIs. More >
Verlander vexed: Verlander kept the opposing offense quiet for a second straight outing, yet came away without a win again. The right-hander threw 75 of his 112 pitches for strikes. This came after a no-decision Sunday against Texas despite throwing seven scoreless innings. More >
Tillman keeps rolling: Tillman now has a 1.64 ERA over his last five starts, with 36 strikeouts in 33 innings. At one point on Friday, he struck out J.D. Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton over a five-batter span. Tillman also got a pair of big K's when he needed them in the seventh, following Nick Castellanos' leadoff double, to help him escape trouble.
So far it's been a successful bounce-back campaign for Tillman, who posted a 4.99 ERA in 2015, when he struck out five batters or fewer in 25 of his 31 starts. Tillman also has allowed only one home run in 45 1/3 innings.
"He's got command of some pitches that he didn't a lot of times last year, and it's created a different look," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Our catcher's really good about trying not to show the whole repertoire in the first two or three innings, and you've got somewhere to go. You can't just sit there and stay with one pattern. They're going to get you."
Missed opportunities: Detroit had two runners on in each of the opening two frames against Tillman, but came away empty. Jose Iglesias grounded into an inning-ending double play in the second. The Tigers had a chance to tie the game in the seventh following Castellanos' leadoff double, but Tillman retired the next three batters.
"Not many first basemen throw that baseball. I told him coming off the field that was a huge play there. That's the separator. I think that's why he's going to win a Gold Glove this year." -- Showalter, on Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who aggressively threw to second for a force play on Ian Kinsler's grounder in the eighth inning
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Verlander (1,993 K's) moved past Red Ruffing (1,987) and Johan Santana (1,988) and into 78th place on the all-time strikeouts list. He needs seven more to join Mickey Lolich (2,679) as the only pitchers in Tigers history with at least 2,000 strikeouts.
Orioles right fielder Mark Trumbo went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, ending his streak of reaching base safely at 25 games. It was the second-longest streak in the Majors this season, behind a 28-game run from the Twins' Joe Mauer, and was two games shy of tying the longest of Trumbo's career.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers:Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 5.89 ERA) has allowed at least four earned runs in four of his last five starts, including Monday's no-decision in a 5-4 loss at Washington. He'll look to get on track when he takes the ball for Saturday's 7:05 p.m. ET contest.
Orioles: Right-hander Mike Wright (1-3, 5.83 ERA) takes the mound at Camden Yards as the Orioles try to clinch this four-game series against the Tigers and extend their winning streak to seven games. Wright is trying to bounce back from allowing five runs on 10 hits over five innings in his last outing, a loss to Oakland.