BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners haven’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboards in recent weeks. So, with two good right-handers on the mound Sunday afternoon, the anticipation was that it would be a tight, low-scoring game at Camden Yards.
Usually when that appears to be the case, the reverse occurs. But not Sunday, when the Orioles’ Chris Tillman and Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma locked horns in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.
The Orioles (62-48) came away victorious, 1-0, thanks to a home run by Nick Markakis to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Neither club scored again, but the announced 35,217 didn’t seem to mind the lack of runs, rising to its feet in the ninth as the Orioles captured their 10th win in 16 second-half games.
It was the first time in modern franchise history that the Orioles won 1-0 on a leadoff homer.
The win gave the Orioles a 4-2 homestand and a 5-2 record against the Mariners (57-54) in their season series. It also marked the fourth consecutive series won by the Orioles, the first time they have done that this season.
Tillman (8-5), who struggled in his last outing, was superb Sunday, allowing four hits and striking out six batters in seven innings. Only once did he allow two base runners in an inning, and he struck his final two batters to extinguish that threat. It came against the team that originally drafted Tillman before trading him to the Orioles as part of the deal for Erik Bedard in 2008.
The last time Tillman threw at least seven shutout innings this season was June 22 at the New York Yankees. Newcomer Andrew Miller retired all three batters he faced in the eighth, striking out two, and Zach Britton pitched a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save.
It was also a tremendous afternoon for Markakis.
The veteran right fielder has batted atop the Orioles’ order 192 times in his career, including Sunday, but he never before hit a leadoff home run. He changed that on the sixth pitch from Iwakuma, slamming it onto the flag court in right field for his ninth homer of the season.
In the third inning, Markakis singled to right field for the 1,500th hit of his career. He is one of only six players to have at least 1,500 hits with the Orioles, joining Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Brady Anderson and Boog Powell.
Markakis picked up his third hit of the day with a double in the sixth; Iwakuma allowed just five hits in 72 / 3 innings, and Markakis had three of them. David Lough singled in the second inning, but he was thrown out later trying to steal. Manny Machado added a base hit in the eighth to chase Iwakuma (9-6).
With a chance for a cycle if he could hit a triple in the eighth inning, Markakis popped up.
In addition to the five hits, Iwakuma allowed two walks and one run while striking out seven batters. He received polite applause from the pro-Orioles crowd as he walked off the field a hard-luck loser.
— Baltimore Sun