BALTIMORE – Jason Vargas went the distance, kept the Baltimore Orioles scoreless after the second inning and didn’t issue a walk.
Unfortunately, Chris Tillman was even better.
Tillman took a three-hit shutout into the eighth, and the Orioles beat Vargas and the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Monday night.
Vargas (12-8) allowed three runs – all in the second inning. Seeking to become the first Seattle pitcher in nine years to win six consecutive starts, Vargas yielded eight hits and struck out two before walking off the mound after eight sparkling innings.
Although the result wasn’t what Vargas or manager Eric Wedge wanted, the complete game was a testament to the endurance and effectiveness of Seattle’s gritty left-hander.
“It says a great deal about him and how far he’s come,” Wedge said. “He had earned the right to stay out there. I wanted him to be out there. I trust him. He makes pitches and keeps the game right where it is. He gave us every chance to win the ball game and I wanted to give him every chance to win the ballgame.”
Said Vargas: “I think that’s the first time (Wedge) has come out there and not taken me out. The trust that he has in me to finish the inning off was huge.”
Nick Markakis homered and Mark Reynolds had three hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who have won six of eight to improve to 58-51. Baltimore didn’t record its 58th win last year until Sept. 9, one day after its 85th defeat.
Tillman (5-1) gave up one run, five hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings to win his fourth straight start and lower his ERA to 2.38. In two outings against Seattle this year, the right-hander has allowed one earned run in 15 2/3 innings.
Tillman is 3-0 lifetime against the Mariners, who traded him to Baltimore in 2008. Asked if pitching against Seattle provides him with added motivation, Tillman said, “No, not anymore. I kind of got over that after that ’08 season when I came over here. Just another team to go out there and give my team a chance to win.”
The Mariners scored in the eighth to end a streak of 28 scoreless innings by Baltimore pitchers. Over the past four games, Orioles starters have given up two runs over 27 innings.
Munenori Kawasaki drove in the lone run for the last-place Mariners, who have lost three of four following a seven-game winning streak.