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KC@SEA: Vargas hurls eight innings of one-run ball

Jason Vargas might have been a bit disappointed to see July give way to August, but the crafty Mariners left-hander has plenty of momentum entering the new month. The American League Pitcher of the Month for July will take the mound on Monday for the first time in August, leading Seattle into its three-game series at Baltimore.

The Orioles will be the first test of the new month for Vargas, who posted a 5-0 record and a 1.64 ERA in July.

"It's a pretty cool award," Vargas said. "I feel like a month is a pretty good amount of time to pitch well, and given the competition there is and the pitchers in the American League right now, I feel like it was an honor.

"Your confidence goes up with a stretch like that, but at the same time, you have to keep doing what you're doing that has made you successful. You just have to keep going out there and taking it one [start] at a time."

The Orioles are hoping to get similar numbers out of their starters, and after a rough stretch, it appears things might be coming together for their starting rotation. O's starters have posted just three quality starts in their last 11 games, but two of those have come in the past two games.

On Saturday, it was Wei-Yin Chen who threw seven innings of shutout ball in a 4-0 win over the Rays, and on Sunday, Miguel Gonzalez threw another seven scoreless innings to lead Baltimore to a 1-0 win in 10 innings. On Monday, the Orioles will look to Chris Tillman to continue the streak. Aside from a hiccup on July 16, when he couldn't get out of the first inning, Tillman has pitched well since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.

In five starts, the right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA, including a win over the Yankees his last time out despite dealing an illness.

Mariners: Club working with a thin bench
• The Mariners were down to just two position players on their bench during Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Yankees due to Brendan Ryan's sore left elbow and Mike Carp's temporary departure to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter. The Mariners hope to get Ryan back on Monday, but he acknowledged his elbow may not be ready after he was hit by a pitch from Hiroki Kuroda on Saturday.

"I just don't think it's that realistic," Ryan said. "There's too much swelling. I'm going to have to get some range of motion first. That might be a couple days away."

• The Mariners dropped two of three in all three of their three-game sets against the Yankees this season. They are 11-19 against the American League East this year.

Orioles: Bats cooling off
• Baltimore entered Sunday's rubber match with the Rays hitting .308 with 17 doubles, nine home runs and 39 runs scored in its last eight games but recorded just three hits and one run in the final game.

• Orioles pitchers blanked an opponent for the sixth time this season on Sunday and have posted back-to-back shutouts. Five of those have come on the road.

Worth noting
In his first start this season, Tillman worked 8 1/3 innings of two-hit, two-run ball to earn the win over the Mariners. He struck out seven and walked two.

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