BOSTON -- Chris Tillman outdueled David Price in a matchup of aces, lifting the Orioles to a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park that put them into sole possession of first place in the American League East.
Tillman (9-1, 2.87 ERA) surrendered five hits and a run over seven innings while striking out seven. Price (7-4) produced his seventh straight quality start for the second-place Red Sox, allowing five hits and three runs while walking none and striking out 11.
"You had two good pitchers on top of their game. Just waiting for it to get dark," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the win. "Left-handers are so hard to see in this ballpark. [Price] doesn't need any help. Both of them were real good. You know pitchers are good when you know what they're going to try to do and they do it anyway."
Manny Machado gave the Orioles a quick 2-0 lead when he curled a two-run shot around Pesky's Pole in right in the top of the first.
From there, the two aces engaged in a crisp duel, matching zeros until the bottom of the seventh. That was when Jackie Bradley Jr. ripped a solo shot to straightaway center that had a projected distance of 430 feet, according to Statcast™.
"I just couldn't find myself the first couple innings and [Catcher Matt] Wiety did a great job of getting me back on track," Tillman said. "It was just a matter of finding the rhythm of the game and making some pitches I needed to make."
Just as the Red Sox inched closer, the O's extended their lead back to two runs in the eighth when Jonathan Schoop hit a mammoth homer that soared over the Green Monster and on to Lansdowne Street at an estimated distance of 450 feet.
"The last one was a slider in to Schoop and I didn't get it where I wanted to," said Price. "It was kind of like the one I gave up in San Fran. That's tough. That's an inning I had a chance to put down a shutdown inning and wasn't able to do that."
Zach Britton did a stellar job in the eighth to snuff out a Boston rally, and struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Britton's five-out save: With the O's bullpen faltering the past two games in Toronto -- and without setup men Darren O'Day and Vance Worley -- Showalter took no chances. With men on the corners and one out in the eighth, Showalter summoned Britton to record his second five-out save of the season. Britton struck out David Ortiz before allowing Hanley Ramirez's RBI single to make it 3-2 in the eighth. The lefty then retired Bradley on a comebacker before shutting the door in the ninth.
"The big thing for me is pitch count. It's not ups and downs. It's really not consecutive days for the most part," Britton said of potentially expanding his role with O'Day hurt. "Brad [Brach has] obviously been throwing the ball well too, so he's helped a lot.
"That's why when I come in the game I want to get a ground ball right away and get that first out in the inning. Strikeouts are great when I need them, but for the most part I want early contact and get out of the inning with few pitches and few strikeouts, I can go multiple innings on consecutive days. With the way our bullpen is shaped, even without Darren, everyone is throwing the ball really well, and I think that's why we're having success." More >
Price victimized by homers again: For the second straight start, the only blemish for Price was the home run ball. Last time out against the Giants, he gave up two homers in a tough-luck loss at San Francisco. In Tuesday's start, all three runs Price allowed over eight innings were on home runs. Price has lowered his ERA from 6.75 to 4.52 over his last seven starts.
"You know, when you throw a lot of strikes and are around the plate, you're going to give up some hard contact," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think it's somewhat unrealistic to go out and think he's going to throw a shutout every ballgame. He's been on the short end of some games we've been shut down offensively." More >
Missed opportunities early haunt Boston:The Red Sox had two on and none out in the second inning and eventually loaded the bases, but came up empty. In the third, Dustin Pedroia hit a one-out double and again Boston couldn't come up with a run. From there, Tilman only got tougher.
"Typically with a starter who's throwing the ball well, you've got to get to him early and I thought we were doing just that," Farrell said.
"It's incredible watching that guy pitch. I'm not just saying that because he's my teammate. He's got some of the best stuff I think I've seen in baseball. His sinker, it's ridiculous. I don't know how anyone can put a good swing on it. He takes a lot of pride in it and it's fun to watch. " -- Tillman, on Britton
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Tuesday marked Ortiz's 1,000th career game at Fenway Park, which includes 15 games for the Minnesota Twins and also 34 in the postseason for Boston. Ortiz joins Carl Yastrzemski, Dwight Evans, Ted Williams and Jim Rice as the only players to appear in at least 1,000 games at Fenway Park.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles:Kevin Gausman will get the ball for the Orioles still looking for his first win of the season. Gausman has pitched well, posting a 3.45 ERA, but hasn't gotten much run support. He'll make his first start in Boston this season on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright, the best starting pitcher for the Red Sox this season, will try to stay hot when he pitches the middle game of this three-game series against the Orioles. Wright has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts.