Baltimore, MD – Chris Tillman outdueled Jason Vargas and the Baltimore Orioles took the opener of a three-game tilt against the Seattle Mariners, 3-1.
Tillman (5-1), a former Seattle farmhand, held the Mariners to one run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings to pick up his fourth straight win. Tillman has only pitched deeper into a game once, when he tossed 8 1/3 innings against the M's on July 4.
"Fastball command was a little bit better tonight," said Tillman. "My changeup and curveball kind of carried me through the game."
Vargas (12-8), the American League's pitcher of the month in July, had a strong August debut, tossing his second complete game of the season and seventh of his career. He surrendered three runs on eight hits in eight innings, without issuing a walk.
Nick Markakis provided the decisive blow for the Orioles with a two-out, two- run home run in the second inning, giving the Orioles their sixth win in eight games.
Lew Ford picked up a broken-bat single with one out in the third and scored when Mark Reynolds lined a double to the left-center field gap. Two batters later, Markakis lined a 1-2 curveball over the scoreboard in right field to open up a 3-0 lead.
Vargas turned his night around, retiring 19 of the final 22 batters he faced following the homer. But, with Tillman dealing, the three runs were enough for the O's.
Seattle did not pick up its first hit until the fifth inning and stranded Munenori Kawasaki on third in the sixth.
The Mariners finally put a run across the plate in the eighth when Eric Thames led off with a double and scored on a Kawasaki base hit, but the Baltimore bullpen preserved the lead.
Pedro Strop picked up the final two outs in the eighth and Jim Johnson worked around a pair of infield singles to nail down his 33rd save.
"We fought through that last inning against one of the best closers in the game, but ultimately they made a couple of great plays," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge.
Seattle's run in the eighth snapped a 28-inning scoreless streak for the Baltimore pitching staff...Ford, who went 1-for-3, now has a 13-game hitting streak against Seattle that stretches back to 2005...The Orioles won their third straight game...In his career, Tillman is 3-0 with an earned run average of 0.85 against Seattle (two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings)...Baltimore's Chris Davis went 0-for-3 and had his nine-game hit streak stopped...Vargas had his five-game win streak snapped and lost for the first time since June 20. However, he notched his eighth straight quality start...Vargas tied the Orioles' Tommy Hunter and the Angels' Ervin Santana with 26 home runs allowed.