Tillman set for return as Orioles begin set with M's

The Baltimore Orioles couldn't have picked a better opponent for Chris Tillman to face in his return to action.

The youngster tries to remain undefeated in his career versus the Seattle Mariners on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.

Tillman hasn't pitched since exiting a Sept. 2 start versus the New York Yankees after just three innings because of right elbow discomfort. He gave up two runs on two hits and a pair of walks prior to his exit, getting a no- decision.

The righty has won six of his past seven decisions and hasn't lost since Aug. 11, going 7-2 with a 3.39 earned run average in 11 starts.

Tillman threw a side session on Thursday and is ready to go tonight. The 24- year-old will look to continue his career-long success against the Mariners, who he is 3-0 against in three starts while giving up two earned runs over 21 2/3 innings for a 0.83 ERA with 17 strikeouts.

Baltimore could use another dominating performance out of Tillman as it continues its push for first place in the AL East. The Orioles remained a game behind the New York Yankees for that spot following Sunday's 9-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

The O's can make up some ground tonight as the Yankees are idle. Baltimore also leads the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by 2 1/2 games for the AL's second wild card spot.

Matt Wieters hit two solo homers and Endy Chavez went 4-for-4 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored on Sunday for the Orioles, who avoided a three-game sweep and clinched their first winning season since 1997.

"Every game right now is a must-win," Wieters said. "This is a tough place to play. To be able to get one, we'll take it."

Seattle, meanwhile, has lost six of its past nine and is coming off a 2-1 loss to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Justin Smoak hit a homer in the eighth and Blake Beavan took the hard-luck loss, yielding two runs over seven innings.

"We took it all the way to the end ... but they got the last out," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.

Wedge will give Hector Noesi his first start since July 4, when the righty was beaten by the Orioles after giving up four runs over five innings in his first career start against them. He fell to 2-11 on the season with that loss and was sent to the minors.

The 25-year-old righty returned to the Mariners in September and has pitched twice in relief, giving up two hits and two walks over four innings. He holds a 5.54 ERA in 19 total appearances this season and has not won since May 6.

The Orioles are 9-3 against the Mariners over the past two seasons with a current five-game win streak in the series.