BALTIMORE -- On a night when both starting pitchers had their most dominant performances of the season, it became apparent that one mistake would be the difference in the series opener between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.
That moment came on a ninth-inning throwing error by Munenori Kawasaki that opened the door for a game-winning single by Nick Markakis, and the Orioles emerged with a 2-1 win Monday at Oriole Park
Baltimore's Chris Tillman, who had not gotten past the fifth inning in his previous three outings, threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a duel with Toronto's J.A. Happ. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out three. Happ limited the Orioles to one run on four hits in six-plus innings.
"Tillman was good, huh?" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That was an impressive outing. To have that kind of command on curveballs and off-speed pitches on a night when you could feel (the cold) in your fingers, and the ball was slick, was pretty impressive. Tilly was the difference in that ballgame."
Toronto reliever Aaron Loup (1-2) hit Chris Davis with a pitch to open the ninth. Davis moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by J.J. Hardy. After Steve Pearce popped out, Loup intentionally walked Nolan Reimold.
A grounder by Alexi Casilla appeared to end the inning, but a throwing error on Kawasaki loaded the bases. Markakis then sliced a single to left field on an 0-2 count to win the game.
"He's a tough lefty," Markakis said of Loup. "I was just looking for a pitch, anything around the zone. Don't try to overswing, just put the ball in play, and if it goes through the hole, it does, and if I'm out, I'm out. I was just trying to give myself a chance by putting the ball in play, and it worked out."
Loup liked the location of his fastball, down and away. He simply credited Markakis.
"It's another tough way to lose a game," Loup said. "I was battling and making good pitches. We had a few tough breaks. I thought I had the last hitter of the game where I wanted him. I made my pitch, and I guess all I can do is tip my hat because he did a good piece of hitting."
Jim Johnson (1-1) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win.
Happ continued to emerge as the anchor of Toronto's rotation. He struck out six and walked two.
"I felt good out there," Happ said. "It was a tough game. Both sides are battling. I felt good about keeping us in the game. It's frustrating. We played a good game and just came up a little short tonight."
The Orioles broke a scoreless deadlock when Manny Machado and Adam Jones opened the fifth with back-to-back singles. After a wild pitch by Happ moved them to second and third, Davis knocked in Machado with a long sacrifice fly to left field.
Tillman began to show some signs of tiring in the seventh when he allowed singles to Edwin Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia. Colby Rasmus tied the game with a bouncing single to right field with two outs.
That sequence ended the night for Tillman, who fell just short of becoming first Orioles starter to go seven innings this season. Right-hander Darren O'Day entered and immediately walked Brett Lawrie to load the bases. However, O'Day struck out Emilio Bonifacio to end the threat.
"The secondary stuff was there, and I was able to find the strike zone early," Tillman said. "(Happ) threw a great game. O'Day came in and picked me up big-time there in the last inning. Our offense battled the whole game. Nick put a good swing on a good pitch."
Toronto's Adam Lind finished the night 1-for-3 with a walk, though his streak of reaching base to nine consecutive plate appearances ended when he struck out in the seventh inning.
"It was a hell of a ballgame if you look at it," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "There was good pitching on both sides, low-scoring game. We battled, but they played just as well. They came out on top with the big hit there at the end."
NOTES: The Orioles recalled right-handed reliever Alex Burnett from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned starter Jake Arrieta to the Tides. ... The Orioles have not announced a starter for Wednesday's series finale against Toronto, but the pitcher likely will come from Norfolk. ... For only the second time in seven games, the Orioles did not allow a run in the first inning. ... The Blue Jays traded OF Casper Wells to the Athletics in exchange for cash considerations. ... Happ made his 100th career start, counting his time with Philadelphia, Houston and Toronto.