By JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Chris Tillman pitched seven strong innings to earn his 15th victory of the season and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
The loss left the Red Sox 21/2 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
Manny Machado had two hits for the Orioles, including a two-run double that gave them the lead for good in the third inning. Danny Valencia had two doubles, and Adam Jones also had a pair of hits for Baltimore.
Tillman (15-4), who had never won more than nine games in a season before this year, allowed two runs and six hits while striking out eight. Only Detroit’s Max Scherzer, who has won 19 games, has more major league victories this season.
Jon Lester (12-8) pitched six innings for Boston, allowing three runs and five hits. Daniel Nava had three hits and Shane Victorino finished with two.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his AL-leading 41st save.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was hitless in four at-bats to extend his slump to 0 for 22, striking out on four pitches to end the eighth inning with the tying run on third.
Nava doubled and scored on Stephen Drew’s single to give Boston a 1-0 lead in the second inning. But the Orioles took the lead on Machado’s double, and then made it 3-1 in the fifth when Lester walked Jones with two outs and Chris Davis doubled off the Green Monster.
NOTES: Victorino’s seven homers in August tie his career single-month high, set in July 2008. It’s the most homers by a Sox right fielder in a month since J.D. Drew’s 12 in June 2008. … Boston 1B Mike Carp, who had the game-winning hit on Wednesday night, was scratched with a sore left shoulder. … The Orioles, who closed to 61/2 games behind Boston, still have six games left against the Red Sox in September, including the last three games of the season in Baltimore. … Baltimore OF Nate McLouth was hit in the hand while offering at a pitch in the third inning. He remained in the game and eventually reached on a walk. … Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole his 50th base of the season in the eighth inning. It’s the third 50 stolen base season of his career.
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