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Nate McLouth hit a two-run home run in the Orioles' decisive four-run fifth inning of a 5-3 victory against Texas on Tuesday night, and the Baltimore right-hander kept Rangers hitters off-balance with effective off-speed pitches and good command of his fastball.
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Tillman worked 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out seven before giving way to the bullpen, which now has a 1.57 ERA in the last 18 games.
That follows a performance two years ago in which Tillman held the Rangers to two runs on two hits and a walk over a career-high 7 1/3 innings.
"It ain't easy," said Tillman, who improved to 6-2 on the season with a 3.71 ERA and 4-1 on the road.
"These guys have a great lineup and you have to respect that whether you're ahead or behind."
Jim Johnson worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his 38th save.
"Chris was good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He had command of the breaking ball early, and threw the fastball on both sides of the plate."
The Rangers scored two on Geovany Soto's two-run homer in the seventh inning to close a 5-1 deficit to two and then put the tying run on base, but Pedro Strop struck out Josh Hamilton on a slider to end the threat.
David Murphy, 10 for 19 with a homer and three doubles and six RBI in his previous five games, went 1 for 4 on Tuesday, including a groundout with a runner on base to end the Rangers' half of the eighth.
"Pedy got a couple of big outs for us," Showalter said. The bullpen "has been a constant for us. We've been able to share the load and pass it around.
"We've got a lot of people we have confidence in."
Scott Feldman, who won six consecutive decisions in May and June, surrendered five runs -- including four earned, though that run scored on a wild pitch -- on seven hits in five innings in losing his third in a row.
He struck out four and walked one while ending a string of good performances by Rangers pitching, which entered Tuesday having allowed two runs or less in three consecutive games and just four total in the three-game winning streak.
The starting rotation had posted a 2.96 ERA in the previous seven games.
"I thought he made a real good pitch to Hardy and he went down and poked it to right field," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Feldman. "I think if there's any pitch he'd want to take back in that inning, it would be the one to McLouth, but other than that, there was no indication they were going to put four runs on the board because both he and Tillman were pitching very well."
The AL West-division leading Rangers lost a game to Los Angeles in the standings and lead the Angels by eight games. Oakland, which started the evening six back, were playing late at home against Minnesota.
The Orioles broke loose for four runs in the fifth. Machado's triple scored Omar Quintanilla and McLouth sent a Feldman pitch into the left-field seats for a two-run home run that made the score 5-1.
"All you're trying to do in that situation is limit the damage," Feldman said. "Even after giving up that hit to Hardy, we're still in the game. I just made a bad pitch to McLouth."
The Rangers' Ian Kinsler hit his 14th home run of the season to tie the game in the third on a 1-0 pitch.
The Orioles took a first-inning lead by scoring an unearned run with two outs.
McLouth walked, stole second and advanced to third on an error when Soto's throw sailed into center field. He scored on Feldman's wild pitch.
|Nate McLouth's homer helps the Orioles stay a game behind the Rays in the wild card race. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Nick Markakis, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.290|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.226|
|Nate McLouth, LF||3||2||1||2||1||0||1||.196|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.293|
|Matt Wieters, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.240|
|Chris Davis, DH||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.251|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.222|
|Omar Quintanilla, 2B||3||1||0||0||0||1||2||.263|
|a- Robert Andino, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|Manny Machado, 3B||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.279|
|a-grounded out for Quintanilla in the 9th|
|2B - J.J. Hardy (21, Feldman)|
|3B - Manny Machado (2, Feldman)|
|HR - Nate McLouth (1, Feldman)|
|RBI - J.J. Hardy (50), Nate McLouth 2 (8), Manny Machado (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - J.J. Hardy (15), Nate McLouth 2 (5)|
|SB - Nate McLouth (4, 3rd base off Feldman/Soto)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|Chris Tillman (W,6-2)||6.2||6||3||3||1||7||2||3.71|
|Pedro Strop (H,23)||1.1||0||0||0||1||1||0||1.46|
|Jim Johnson (S,38)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.08|
|WP - Chris Tillman (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Tillman 101-64, Darren O'Day 8-4, Pedro Strop 23-14, Jim Johnson 15-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Tillman 6-7, Pedro Strop 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Chris Tillman 27, Darren O'Day 2, Pedro Strop 5, Jim Johnson 3|
|Ian Kinsler, 2B||4||1||1||1||1||0||1||.265|
|Elvis Andrus, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.299|
|Josh Hamilton, CF||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||.284|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.303|
|Nelson Cruz, RF||2||0||0||0||2||1||2||.268|
|Michael Young, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.269|
|David Murphy, LF||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.308|
|Geovany Soto, C||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||.206|
|Mitch Moreland, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.288|
|2B - Adrian Beltre (24, Tillman)|
|HR - Ian Kinsler (14, Tillman), Geovany Soto (8, Tillman)|
|RBI - Ian Kinsler (57), Geovany Soto 2 (23)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ian Kinsler (22)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - David Murphy 1|
|E - Geovany Soto (8, Throwing)|
|Scott Feldman (L,6-9)||5||7||5||4||1||4||1||4.77|
|WP - Scott Feldman (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Feldman 100-64, Michael Kirkman 27-17, Tanner Scheppers 15-12, Robbie Ross 19-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Feldman 4-6, Michael Kirkman 2-2, Tanner Scheppers 2-1, Robbie Ross 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Scott Feldman 22, Michael Kirkman 6, Tanner Scheppers 4, Robbie Ross 3|
|Attendance - 32146|
|Game Time - 3:05|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Todd Tichenor, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Bob Davidson|