MLB

Tillman struggles in Orioles' 4-3 loss to Indians

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CLEVELAND (AP)

Chris Tillman has been the Baltimore Orioles' ace all season and even he has an occasional off night.

Yan Gomes and Asdrubal Cabrera each drove in two runs off the All-Star right-hander Tuesday, allowing the Cleveland Indians to beat Baltimore 4-3 in a battle of American League playoff contenders.

Tillman (15-5) allowed four runs and five walks in 5 1-3 innings for the Orioles, who entered the night two games behind Tampa Bay in the race for the second AL wild-card berth.

''I need to be better than that, and I know it,'' Tillman said. ''I struggled from the get-go and the Indians did a good job battling me all night. As a starter, your goal is to keep it close and see what happens. I didn't do that. I've got to be better.''

Baltimore trailed 4-0 entering the ninth and made things interesting when Nate McLouth belted a three-run homer off Indians closer Chris Perez. The home run scored Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy, who had back-to-back singles to open the inning.

But Perez settled down to strike out Brian Roberts and Manny Machado. He then induced Chris Davis - the major league leader with 47 homers - into a game-ending groundout.

''Every single game has been important all season, but it is more magnified now,'' said McLouth, who has 11 home runs. ''Unfortunately, we got ourselves in a big hole tonight and couldn't dig out. Chris pitched well, but we didn't get anything going until it was too late.''

Cleveland right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9) earned the win with six innings of four-hit baseball. The Orioles only advanced two runners to third base against him, but Adam Jones was stranded in the second and Manny Machado was left there in the sixth.

Jimenez is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in two starts against Baltimore this season. He retired 10 straight batters until J.J. Hardy singled with two out in the fifth.

''Jimenez was as good as anyone in baseball three or four years ago, and it looks like he's got his velocity back,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ''He was really crisp with his change-up and his fastball was working for him all night. He got a lead and made it work out.

''I just wish we could have done the same for Tilly. He didn't do anything tonight that a couple of runs wouldn't have cured.''

Cabrera had sacrifice flies in the fourth and sixth innings, while Gomes delivered the big blow later in the sixth with a two-run double to left that chased Tillman.

Former Indians prospect T.J. McFarland and Josh Stinson combined to throw 2 2-3 scoreless frames of relief for the Orioles, who were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

''It's coming down to the end of the season, and we need to stay right where we need to be,'' said Tillman. ''I didn't help because tonight was like, you lose it, find it, lose it, out there. It's not easy to pitch that way.''

McLouth and Hardy had two hits apiece, but the rest of the Orioles had a total of four. Davis and Matt Wieters each went 0-for-3, while Jones and Machado were limited to singles.

''(Jimenez) goes out there and gives us six shutout innings against that lineup,'' Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. ''That's exciting.''

Showalter modified his starting rotation before the game, inserting left-hander Zach Britton into the mix Wednesday against the Indians. The other five starters will be moved back one day.

''This just fit better where we are, physically, right now, but I told all the guys that we'll revisit it after (Sept.) 9th,'' Showalter said. ''They understand that we're going to put our best foot forward in these final 25 or 26 games.''

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was slated to pitch in Cleveland, will now start Thursday against the White Sox. Right-hander Scott Feldman, left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, and right-hander Bud Norris also will face Chicago, while Tillman will start Monday against the Yankees.

NOTES: The Orioles recalled 2B Jonathan Schoop, OF Henry Urrutia and RHP Josh Stinson from Triple-A Norfolk, and 2B Ryan Flaherty from Single-A Frederick. Schoop, who played for Team Netherlands in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, is making his first trip to the majors. ... The Orioles selected McFarland from the Indians in the Rule 5 draft in the offseason. The 24-year-old left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 appearances. ... Cleveland Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya and Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky threw out the ceremonial first pitches to Indians outfielder Drew Stubbs. Ogbonnaya and Stubbs were roommates at the University of Texas. ... Orioles LHP Zach Britton (2-3) takes on Indians RHP Zach McAllister (7-7) in the three-game series finale Wednesday.

Tagged: Orioles, Indians, J.J. Hardy, Nate McLouth, Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Perez, Chris Davis, Chris Tillman

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