|Baltimore (90-67) «||6||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||x||9||12||2|
BALTIMORE -- Chris Tillman already has more wins in 2012 than the combined total over his first three years in the big leagues.
That might come as a shock, except nothing the Baltimore Orioles do this season is all that surprising anymore.
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Tillman pitched eight innings of one-hit ball, Ryan Flaherty hit his first career grand slam and the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 9-1 on Friday night remain a game out of first place in the AL East.
Chris Davis hit a two-run homer as the Orioles kept pace with the division-leading Yankees, who beat Toronto 11-4. Baltimore also tightened its grip on the top AL wild-card spot.
Tillman (9-2) gave up a bunt single to leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik, then allowed only two walks the rest of the way in his longest outing since July 4. The right-hander retired the final 14 batters he faced, and the only run he allowed was unearned.
Tillman came to spring training with a 7-15 lifetime record. Although he pitched well in camp, he began the season with Triple-A Norfolk and remained there until July. In his last 12 starts, the 24-year-old is 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA and has become one of the most effective starters on the staff.
"He's one win away from winning 10 games, but we hopefully have bigger fish to fry," manager Buck Showalter said. "He keeps putting himself in a position to be worthy of getting the ball."
Said Tillman: "I feel like I'm confident in my delivery, and when you have confidence in that, things will play out well for you. I just got to take it pitch-by-pitch and not get too worried about the next inning or the next game. One step at a time."
Troy Patton worked the ninth to complete the one-hitter.
It was the 90th win for the Orioles, who went 69-93 last season. If Baltimore wins three of its last five games it will make the postseason, regardless of how the other contenders fare.
Boston has lost 14 of 20. Starter Aaron Cook (4-11) went one-plus innings, allowing six runs, five hits and three walks. Only 18 of his 42 pitches were strikes.
"I wasn't making pitches. I was behind, and when I did come in there they hit balls over the fence," Cook said.
Asked what he might have done differently to be successful, Cook replied, "Not walk [anyone] and not give up hits."
Flaherty, a Rule 5 rookie, became the latest in a long line of heroes during the Orioles' improbable season. He was batting .225 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 72 games before connecting to cap a six-run first inning that included a two-run drive by Davis.
Flaherty also doubled in a run in the fifth. The five RBI were two more than his previous career high, and it was only the third time he drove in more than one run in a game.
"Yeah, it seems like every night it's someone new," Flaherty said. "Whether it is a pitcher, a hitter, a play in the field, something. We'll keep riding it."
Baltimore has hit nine homers in its last two games and has 122 at home, eclipsing the season record of 121 set in 1996.
In addition, the Orioles reached a positive run differential - 697-690 - for the first time since June 24.
Boston scored an unearned run in the first inning. Podsednik bunted to the right side and reached second when Flaherty's throw went wide of first baseman Mark Reynolds. Two batters later, Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom half, Nate McLouth singled on Cook's first pitch and Davis hit a drive into the seats in right. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases, Flaherty sent a 2-1 breaking ball deep into the night for a 6-1 lead.
|Baltimore's Ryan Flaherty (left) fist-bumps teammate Taylor Teagarden after hitting a grand slam in the first inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Scott Podsednik, CF||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.308|
|a- Guillermo Quiroz, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Pedro Ciriaco, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.285|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||1||0||0||1||1||0||0||.288|
|Ivan De Jesus Jr., 2B||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.225|
|Cody Ross, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.269|
|James Loney, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.250|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, DH||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.224|
|Ryan Lavarnway, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.164|
|Daniel Nava, LF||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.247|
|Jose Iglesias, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.111|
|a-flied out for Podsednik in the 9th|
|SF - Dustin Pedroia (6)|
|SH - Pedro Ciriaco (5)|
|RBI - Dustin Pedroia (64)|
|SB - Dustin Pedroia (19, 2nd base off Tillman/Teagarden)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|DP - Iglesias-Loney, Iglesias-Loney|
|E - Scott Podsednik (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Aaron Cook (L,4-11)||1||5||6||6||3||0||2||5.65|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Cook 42-18, Alfredo Aceves 54-37, Pedro Beato 25-16, Daniel Bard 19-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Cook 3-0, Alfredo Aceves 4-2, Pedro Beato 2-2|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Cook 11, Alfredo Aceves 16, Pedro Beato 7, Daniel Bard 4|
|Nate McLouth, LF||4||1||1||0||1||0||2||.243|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||0||1||0||1||0||1||.238|
|Chris Davis, RF||4||1||1||2||0||1||2||.267|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.290|
|Jim Thome, DH||4||1||3||0||0||1||0||.262|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||3||2||1||0||1||0||2||.227|
|Manny Machado, 3B||4||2||2||1||0||2||1||.270|
|Ryan Flaherty, 2B||4||2||2||5||0||0||1||.232|
|Taylor Teagarden, C||3||0||1||1||1||1||0||.158|
|2B - Mark Reynolds (26, Aceves), Manny Machado (8, Aceves), Ryan Flaherty (2, Aceves)|
|HR - Chris Davis (29, Cook), Ryan Flaherty (6, Cook)|
|RBI - Chris Davis 2 (79), Manny Machado (24), Ryan Flaherty 5 (19), Taylor Teagarden (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Manny Machado (6), Ryan Flaherty 5 (8), Taylor Teagarden (6)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Hardy-Flaherty-Reynolds|
|E - Ryan Flaherty (3, Throwing), Troy Patton (1, Throwing)|
|Chris Tillman (W,9-2)||8||1||1||0||2||4||0||2.78|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Tillman 100-68, Troy Patton 9-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Tillman 7-12, Troy Patton 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Chris Tillman 26, Troy Patton 4|
|Attendance - 33518|
|Game Time - 2:23|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Manny Gonzalez, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Phil Cuzzi, Third Base - Gerry Davis|