BALTIMORE -- Chris Tillman hadn't pitched since June 30, but the right-hander delivered the best performance of a ragged season during a 3-1 victory against the Texas Rangers before 14,922 at Oriole Park July 17.
While Tillman didn't get the win, his performance gave the team hope that perhaps he can deliver consistent outings. Tillman allowed a run on two hits in six innings while walking four.
During the weekend's three losses to the Chicago Cubs, Orioles starters worked just 11.1 innings and gave up 21 runs. Tillman said he knew the team needed a big start.
"I didn't think about it. It's going to happen sometime. Someone is going to step up," Tillman said. "The guys have been working. It's not for lack of trying. We need to get on a roll. That's what we've done in the past. One or two guys get going and everyone follows suit. Kind of the friendly competition that we have always talked about. I see a lot of positive signs, but the results aren't what they should be. But we're getting there."
Right fielder Seth Smith's home run in the bottom of the seventh broke a 1-1 tie.
Despite the win, the club has been surrounded by trade talk ever since
Ken Rosenthal reported
July 16 that the Orioles were listening to offers for lefty closer Zach Britton as well as right-handers Brad Brach and Darren O'Day.
The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, and even with the Orioles' first win after the All-Star break, the team, which is now 43-49, must put together two solid weeks to get back into contention.
Before the game, Britton, who has pitched in five games since his July 5 return from two months on the disabled left with a sore left forearm, said he wasn't eager to move on.
"I've been here since I was 18," Britton said. "I'm not in any rush to go anywhere, but it's not my decision. ... There's not a whole lot I can do. I don't make those decisions. For me, coming off the injury, it's about getting the innings and performing when I get out there. My mindset hasn't changed regardless where we are as organization."
Britton, who is a student of the business of the game as well as its on-field activities, said he's trying not to think about the chatter.
"Things get out there that aren't necessarily true, so you go with it," Britton said. "You don't get sucked into it, and you focus on pitching well because a lot of time it can affect the things you do on the field. I'm going to avoid it until something happens or doesn't happen."
Britton, who has yet to pitch in back-to-back games since his return, watched from the bullpen as Brach notched his 16th save in the ninth.
Brach, who has pitched for the Orioles since 2014, doesn't want to leave either.
"I really enjoy being here. I think there's a lot of talent here," Brach said. "Everybody kind of [has a] contract for next year. Kind of a down couple of weeks or month we've had here. Any time we could turn it around. Obviously, I'd love to stay here, but it's not really up to me."
ODDS AND ENDS: RHP Stefan Crichton (right shoulder) was activated from the 10-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. … RHP Mike Wright (right shoulder) allowed four runs on five hits and recorded two outs in a rehab start for Gulf Coast. … RHP Hunter Harvey will start for Gulf Coast July 19. The Orioles have mapped out a plan for Harvey, their 2013 No. 1 draft pick who had Tommy John surgery just less than a year ago, through early September and may send him to the Arizona Fall League. ... Right-handers Dylan Bundy (8-8, 4.33) and Tyson Ross (2-1, 5.33) are the scheduled pitchers for July 18.
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