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Tillman, Orioles shut down Angels 5-1

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels finally got a starting pitcher to pitch deep into the game and give their overworked bullpen a bit of a break. Trouble was: The Baltimore Orioles had a starting pitcher who was even better, and the result was a 5-1 win for the Orioles on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

Chris Tillman shut out the Angels on three hits over eight innings, retiring 20 of 21 batters from the middle of the second inning through the end of the eighth. And it didn't hurt that he got some help from his defense early in the game to prevent the Angels from scoring.

"Tilly was just outstanding," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think he had 23 of 29 first-pitch strikes, which is huge. He had a great three-pitch mix, he mixed in a couple changeups and he threw a cut slider when he needed that third pitch."

The Orioles didn't have much offense against Angels starter Joe Blanton, but it was enough. They got an RBI single from Manny Machado in the third inning, an RBI double by Chris Davis in the sixth and an RBI double by Nick Markakis in the seventh.

Blanton gave up the three runs (two earned) and eight hits in eight innings, easily his best start of the season, but he got the loss and remains winless (0-5).

The closest the Angels came to scoring against Tillman came in the first inning when Mike Trout was on second base and Mark Trumbo on first with two outs. Josh Hamilton lined a single to right field and Trout headed for home. But catcher Matt Wieters stood upright in an attempt to fool Trout into thinking there was no play at the plate. Trout came in standing up and Markakis' throw from right field was on target to nail Trout.

"There was a little bit of a deke there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But Mike's been deked before; he usually understands what's going on. I don't know if he misread it or what was happening."

Tillman, who went to the same Orange County area high school as Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, allowed only singles to Hamilton (first inning), Hank Conger (second inning) and Erick Aybar (sixth inning).

Tillman made 114 pitches through eight innings and did not have an opportunity to throw his first major-league shutout. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth and gave up a solo homer to Albert Pujols.

"He has good stuff," Scioscia said of Tillman. "I think he's obviously a young pitcher who's coming into his own and understanding his own stuff, but he hit both sides of the plate tonight and threw some good breaking balls. He threw a strong game."

Nate McLouth's two-run homer in the top of the ninth off Angels reliever Ryan Brasier accounted for the Orioles' final two runs.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead against Blanton with three consecutive singles in the third, including Machado's single that drove in Nolan Reimold.

After a one-out single by Hank Conger in the second, Tillman retired the next 11 hitters, taking a 1-0 lead into the sixth.

"That's some kind of tough lineup to go through," Showalter said. "He had some things working for him. You give (catcher) Matt (Wieters) three pitches to put in hitters' minds, that's pretty good."

The Orioles (17-12) remained 3 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East, while the Angels (10-18) remained seven back of Texas in the AL West and are looking for anything positive to take away from another disappointing loss.

"It's tough after you lose a game to see some positives but there definitely were some things you can take away," Scioscia said. "We know there's a lot of work ahead of us for us to become the team we can be."

NOTES: Angels catcher Chris Iannetta was not in the starting lineup against the Orioles for the third consecutive game. Iannetta caught all 19 innings of the marathon loss to Oakland on April 29 and has since been feeling "general soreness," according to Scioscia. Conger started in Iannetta's place. ... Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo was scheduled to continue his rehab assignment for the Class A Inland Empire 66ers. Callaspo, out since April 11 with a strained right calf, could rejoin the major-league club as early as Friday. ... Davis was named the American League player of the month for April. Davis was fourth in the league with a .348 batting average and led the league in home runs (nine) and RBI (28). ... Machado, 20, singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. It's the longest hitting streak in Orioles history by a player younger than 21.
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