ARLINGTON, Tex. — When the Baltimore Orioles gathered for a team workout Thursday at Rangers Ballpark for the start of the unofficial second half of the season, Manager Buck Showalter gathered his team under the hot Texas sun for a brief meeting behind second base.
“The look on their faces told me, ‘Okay, I don’t need to do this,’ ” Showalter said.
Showalter often talks about how this group of Orioles players is easy to trust, so he saw quickly that there was no need to preach the importance of sustaining their level of play down the stretch in search of a second straight playoff berth.
The Orioles kicked off the second half this weekend with their first road sweep of the season, relying Sunday on eight strong innings from all-star right-hander Chris Tillman, who guided the club to a 4-2 win over the Rangers.
“I don’t state the obvious to these guys,” Showalter said. “That shows a sign of mistrust. We had some things that we’ve done well that we need to continue to do, and we’re off to a decent start, but there’s 63 left to play.”
With the win, the Orioles (56-43) have won four straight and are a season-high 13 games over .500 — through 99 games last season they were just five games over — as they head to Kansas City for a four-game series against the Royals.
Tillman (12-3) recorded his ninth win in his past 10 decisions, holding the Rangers to two runs on six hits over eight innings, striking out seven and walking three. His 12 wins this season match last year’s club high accomplished by left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
The Rangers’ two-through-five hitters were 2 for 14 with four strikeouts against Tillman. As a team, Texas was 3 for 22 with runners in scoring position with 25 runners left on base in the series.
Baltimore has received seven quality starts in the past eight games, with all of those quality starts producing wins. Over the three games here in Texas, Orioles starters are 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA.
The Orioles’ offense continued their weekend assault on Rangers pitching — Baltimore outscored Texas, 14-6, in the three-game series — led by catcher Matt Wieters, who was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs on the night and was 6 for 12 in the series.
Baltimore is 16-8 this season against the AL West, and its .667 winning percentage against the division is its second best since each league went to a three-division format in 1994.
“We are happy with where we are at and ready to keep grinding,” Tillman said.
— Baltimore Sun