By Jeff Seidel and Ben Raby
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy both homered and starter Chris Tillman threw seven solid innings, as the Orioles sealed a series win with a 4-2 victory over the Angels in the teams' first-half finale on Sunday at Camden Yards.
Albert Pujols made it 3-2 with a sacrifice fly -- scoring an unearned run -- off All-Star reliever Brad Brach in the eighth, but Hardy added a solo shot in the bottom of the inning to restore the O's two-run lead. All-Star closer Zach Britton came on in the ninth and earned his 27th save in 27 chances, which means the Orioles take a two-game lead in the American League East into the break.
Tillman (12-2) allowed one run on three hits in his seven innings, with the Angels' only run off him coming on an RBI double by Mike Trout in the first.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lincecum encouraged by latest start: Lincecum pitched into the sixth inning for the first time in his last four starts and was encouraged after the outing, despite allowing nine hits and three three runs over 5 2/3 innings. More >
"I felt like I challenged guys pretty well. I was controlling both sides of the plate with my fastball," said Lincecum, who threw 102 pitches including 65 strikes. "A couple of breaking balls up here and there put me in jams early on in the innings, but I made some pitches when I had to and the defense made some plays behind me."
Bird Power: The Orioles relied heavily on power throughout the first half of the season, and it showed on Sunday. Davis crushed a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning that gave the Orioles their first lead of the game. That was the O's slugger's first homer since July 2 and No. 22 of the season. The Orioles finished the first half with a team-record 136 homers.
"[Lincecum] made some really good pitches on me my first at-bat," Davis said. "The pitch I hit out was just out over the plate and was actually pretty close to the same pitch he struck me out with my first at-bat. The difference was that on my first at-bat [it] was down."
Britton's milestone: Britton recorded his 100th save in the victory and is now 27-for-27 in save situations this season, as he heads off to the All-Star Game in San Diego. The left-hander has developed into one of baseball's top closers since he took the job early in the 2014 season, a year where he came into Spring Training not even sure about his spot on the club. More >
"That's a nice little number, but like I said, I think it's more of a credit to how well Darren [O'Day] and Brad [Brach] have thrown in front of me, and a lot of other guys, too, to put me in a situation to be successful," Britton said. "It's a group effort."
Fielding gaffe costs Angels: After making a pair of basket catches this weekend, Simmons could not get to the Alvarez fly ball in shallow left field with two outs in the sixth inning. Simmons was backtracking for the catch, but pulled up at the last moment when he heard Choi yell out. Choi said postgame that he yelled for Simmons to take it. The ball dropped in for a base hit, and with Alvarez racing towards second, Simmons committed a throwing error that allowed Alvarez to take third. One pitch later, Alvarez scored on a single by Hardy to give Baltimore a 3-1 lead.
"Just a little inexperience, I think, out there with Ji-Man," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Andrelton had it and at the last second thought he heard a voice from Ji-Man, and an outfielder knows that when an infielder is settling under a ball, let him get it. Ji-Man, it wasn't his ball, he couldn't get to it."
"That's the best we've seen Tim, and that's a pretty good lineup that you've got to work hard to get through. He made very few mistakes. I thought he executed his pitches well and should have been through six innings." -- Scioscia, on Lincecum's start against the Orioles
"We're just trying to do everything to make sure we're as good as we're capable of being. You want to seek your level. I just talked to them before we split up for four days. Make good decisions the next four days. Remember the pact we made with each other when we left [Spring Training]. Nobody's counting, bring what you bring." -- O's manager Buck Showalter, on the Orioles and what they accomplished in the first half
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Trout, who will participate in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby and start Tuesday's All-Star Game, ranks second in the Majors hitting .338 (25-for-74) after falling behind in the count 0-2 (among hitters with at least 50 at-bats).
The Angels took an early lead on Trout's double, sending an 0-2 offering from Tillman off the right-field wall. Kole Calhoun scored from first base, although he was originally called out at the plate. The call was overturned on a manager's challenge that took two minutes and 49 seconds to complete.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: The Angels begin a six-game homestand out of the All-Star break Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT with the first of three against the White Sox. Manager Mike Scioscia has not yet announced his starting rotation for the weekend series.
Home team: The Orioles head out on the road again after the All-Star break, and Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 5.82) will get the start when they open their three-game series at the Rays on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Showalter put Gallardo ahead of Chris Tillman -- who starts Saturday -- to give each an extra day of rest coming out of the break.