BALTIMORE (AP) Seth Smith hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning and the Baltimore Orioles used a strong performance by its struggling pitching staff to beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 Monday night.
Smith connected off Andrew Cashner (4-8) to make it 2-1, Baltimore’s first lead since the All-Star break following a three-game sweep by the Chicago Cubs. Baltimore yielded 27 runs in that series, including 21 by the starters over 11 1/3 innings.
In this one, Chris Tillman allowed one run and two hits over six innings. It was the right-hander’s best performance since his season debut on May 7, when he blanked the White Sox over five innings in what remains his only win over 12 starts.
Richard Bleier (2-1) pitched a scoreless seventh, Mychal Givens had a perfect eighth and Brad Brach completed the three-hitter for his 16th save.
Manny Machado went 3 for 3 and Welington Castillo had two hits and scored a run for the Orioles, who were coming off a 2-8 stretch that dropped them into a tie with Toronto in the AL East cellar.
Adrian Beltre had two hits for the Rangers to move within 18 of 3,000 for his career.
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when rookie Drew Robinson drew a two-out walk and scored on a double by Jonathan Lucroy, who was thrown out trying to make it a triple.
Baltimore pulled even in the sixth when Adam Jones walked, went to third on Machado’s hit-and-run single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Schoop.
With the Orioles fading from contention, it’s possible that closer Zach Britton could be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
”I’m not in any rush to go anywhere, but it’s not my decision,” he said. ”If it happens I’ll take it in stride. But I’ve been here since I was 18.”
Robinson, who started in left field for Texas, won’t have to worry about playing shortstop anytime soon.
”We’re not going to put that on him,” manager Jeff Banister said. ”He been at second, he’s been at third, he’s been at left, we know he can go out in center.”
Rangers: RHP Keone Kela (shoulder) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday and could return to game action as early as Thursday, though it’s unclear whether that would be with Texas or on a rehab assignment, Banister said . RHP A.J. Griffin (left intercostal strain) will pitch Wednesday at Triple-A Round Rock . LHP Jake Diekman (ulcerative colitis surgery) threw long toss on Monday and expects to have his first bullpen session of the season Thursday.
Orioles: RHP Stefan Crichton (right shoulder strain) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
Rangers: RHP Tyson Ross (2-1, 5.33 ERA) will start Tuesday night in the second game of the series. He’s 0-2 with a 17.10 ERA in seven career appearances against Baltimore.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (8-8, 4.33 ERA) makes his third start since June 24 and first since July 11.
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