By Brittany Ghiroli and Ryan Baillargeon
BALTIMORE-- The Rockies used a four-run third inning to deny Oriole ace Chris Tillman his 15th win and snap first-place Baltimore's five-game win streak with Tuesday's 6-3 victory at Camden Yards.
Colorado had four consecutive two-out hits, including Carlos Gonzalez's two-run double that looped just inside the foul line. They sent eight men to the plate in that critical third. Tillman went five innings, allowing nine hits and six runs to raise his season ERA to 3.47.
"That was a big inning for [Tillman] when we had the bases loaded with me and Nolan [Arenado] coming up," Gonzalez said. "Nolan missed his opportunity, but I was able to pick it up and score first."
Rockies starter Chad Bettis went six innings and held the Orioles to two runs, both of which came on Adam Jones homer in the bottom of the fifth. Baltimore added another run on a wild pitch that scored Jones in the bottom of the eighth.
"Just a reminder of how hard it is to do what he's been doing," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Tillman. "When you face hitters you aren't familiar with, a lot like their pitcher tonight, there's some adjustments you have to make in Interleague Play.
"Chris, the pitches he elevated they didn't miss. Very close to a better outing, he got through five. We just didn't do much offensively."
Colorado has now won five of its past six games.
"I've been telling the club all year I felt like we are going to get better and better as the year goes on," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That hadn't been our history. The last few years we've kind of faded the deeper we've gotten into the season, but I feel like this is a different group. We are built to sustain success better than we have the past few years."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two-out damage: Tillman was one pitch away from escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third inning, but Gonzalez refused to let him off the hook. Gonzalez sliced a line drive down the left-field line for a two-run ground-rule double. The Rockies weren't done doing damage with two outs, though. Trevor Story lined a two-run single in the next at-bat to give the Rockies an early 4-0 lead, all on two-out RBIs. Entering the game, Colorado was 6-for-30 (.200) with the bases loaded and two outs.
"To score the runs we did tonight, to get the hits that we did in the key situations against a guy like that, you are really grinding offensively when you do that," Weiss said. More >
Rare misstep for Tillman: The righty allowed six earned runs for just the second time since April 14, and he labored in the third. Traditionally a pitcher who gets better as he goes, Tillman never looked to be in a rhythm despite not walking a batter.
"Any situation you get in like that, long innings, you always feel like you're one or two pitches away," Tillman said. "I felt like we made a lot of good pitches that inning, made some pitches to get some outs, but you've got to give credit to them. They put some huge at-bats together, made some really good swings, and I wouldn't change a thing that inning. I missed with a couple but also made some really good pitches at the same time."
Quality and quantity: Bettis continued his string of solid outings with his fourth straight quality start. The 27-year-old has now gone at least six innings in five straight games and in seven of his past eight starts. He retired eight straight Orioles at one point on Tuesday to help the Rockies improve to 8-1 in his past nine starts.
"I felt really comfortable with the mix Nick [Hundley] and I wanted to go in there with," Bettis said. "A lot more fastballs probably than I was expecting honestly, too, but I had some nice little cut to my four-seam and my sinker was on point today."
Wilson crisp: Sent down at the end of the first half to get crisp, Tyler Wilson definitely looked fresh. The righty tossed four perfect relief innings, keeping the game close after Tillman left.
"Everybody wants to be able to be ready to go every day, so hopefully bridging the gap there and being able to close the game can save some guys in the bullpen," Wilson said. "I just try to do my job every time they give me the ball, and I'm thankful that I had the chance to do that and put up zeros tonight." More >
Activated from the disabled list prior to the game, Hyun Soo Kim wasted no time shaking off the rust. Kim, who has been one of the O's best on-base guys, singled in his first at-bat.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Righty Jon Gray (6-4, 4.12 ERA) will go for his fifth straight quality start in the series finale at Camden Yards at 5:05 p.m. MT. In his past four starts, Gray has a 2.05 ERA with 28 strikeouts over 26 1/3 innings. The Rockies haven't been able to capitalize on his success, though, going 1-3 in those games.
Orioles: Rookie Dylan Bundy (3-2, 3.30 ERA) will close out the series against the Rockies at 7:05 p.m. ET. Bundy looked strong in his second career start on Friday against the Indians, allowing one unearned run in five innings. The Orioles got him up to a career-high 87 pitches in the outing and seem content on leaving him in the rotation.