Baltimore’s Chris Tillman handcuffed Boston on two hits through seven innings, the Orioles tagged Boston pitching for four home runs, and the top spot in the A.L. East got more crowded Friday night thanks to Baltimore’s 6-0 win over Boston and the Tampa Bay Rays’ drubbing of the New York Yankees.
Tillman dodged a first-inning bases loaded bullet against Boston, then settled in to muffle the Red Sox through the seventh inning, striking out eight while walking three to exit with a 5-0 lead. John Lackey was victimized by a two-run homer off the bat of Adam Jones in the first inning to fall behind, gave up a third run when Manny Machado singled in Nate McLouth who led off the third inning with a triple, gave up a second home run to Jones in the 5th inning, and was touched for Machado’s 8th round-tripper in the top of the seventh before departing to take the loss and fall to 7-8 on the year.
Orioles relievers Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson gave up just two late singles to the Red Sox to preserve the shutout for Tillman, who improved to 13-3 on the season. The loss dropped Boston out of first place in the A.L. East, the first time the Red Sox have not occupied that position since May 27th. Tampa moved into first place by half-a-game over the red Sox while the Orioles, who now own a 6-2 season series advantage over Boston, crept closer into the mix at 3 games out.
In taking the loss, Lackey finished with a pitching line of IP 6-and-one-third, R 5 ER 5 H 10 BB 1 K 2.
In dominating Boston, Tillman improved his career record to 3-1 against the Red Sox. Baltimore’s record against A.L. East competition improved to 24-21 while Boston’s dropped to 26-19.
Boston sends Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.28) to the mound Saturday night to face Scott Feldman (9-7, 3.75) for the Orioles in game two of the weekend series.
The Bosox have reshuffled their starting rotation and announced that Felix Doubront will start Monday’s make-up game against the Tampa Rays, rescheduled from Thursday’s rain out in Boston. He will likely face David Price for Tampa.
Boston is still expected to make some type of trade for pitching, either another starter or reliever, prior to Wednesday’s impending non-waiver trading deadline. Chicago’s Jake Peavy is the most obvious target should the Sox make a move to add to their starting rotation while Boston has a number of possible relievers on its shopping list if it decides to pull the trigger on a trade or two.