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CWS@BAL: Tillman one-hits Sox over seven scoreless

The Baltimore Orioles dominated in a 9-4 win over Oakland on Sunday, and with a Yankees off-day on Monday have a chance to move within a half-game of first-place New York in the American League East.

Chris Tillman will make his first start since Sept. 2, when he exited after three innings with right elbow stiffness against the Yankees. Manager Buck Showalter knew from the start that Tillman was struggling -- a dip in his normal velocity led to walks in the first two innings, and a two-out, two-run homer by Chris Dickerson in the second.

"He has been so consistent with his velocity early in the game, and you could tell early on that he was really laboring," Showalter said. "I talked to him after the third inning and didn't like what I was seeing. ... Hopefully, it was just a onetime thing."

Tillman has dominated the Mariners twice this season, most recently tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Aug. 6. The right-hander held Seattle to two runs over 8 1/3 innings in his season debut on July 4.

Hector Noesi will take the hill for the Mariners for his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma earlier this month. Noesi went 2-11 with a 5.77 ERA in 17 starts for the Mariners at the start of the season, then went 2-6 with a 5.74 ERA in 11 starts in Tacoma.

Since he rejoined the Mariners, Noesi has thrown four innings of shutout ball over two relief appearances, and manager Eric Wedge said he hopes the right-hander will build on in his late-season starts.

"What we saw in that second inning he threw the other night was what we're looking for," Wedge said, referring to Noesi's one-two-three ninth inning against the A's on Sept. 7. "He was aggressive with his fastball, throwing the ball downhill, using his secondary stuff effectively, particularly his slider and that changeup. I liked his changeup the other night and I think it's a much-improved pitch. So hopefully, we can see him use that a little more, too."

Noesi echoed those hopes.

"I think it's my position and I love to be a starter," he said. "I was being lazy before, so now I'm being more aggressive and throwing my pitches."

Mariners: Vargas reaches 200 innings
On a team where Felix Hernandez is the ace of the rotation, it's difficult to garner attention. But Jason Vargas' accomplishments for Seattle the past two seasons certainly haven't gone unnoticed.

The Mariners left-hander surpassed the 200-inning mark in Saturday's 8-6 victory over the Rangers and set a career high in the process -- he logged 201 innings last season and now has 204 2/3 this year.

"That means a lot," Wedge said. "First of all, it means somebody you can count on. He's done a better job this year taking care of himself. He's stronger. His routine is better. And I think he really believes how good he is and that's a good thing.

"To pitch 200 innings in the big leagues is a big deal. It's not something you can just brush off. His teammates know they can count on him every fifth day and that says a lot, and to be successful doing it."

Vargas leads the Mariners with 14 wins this season, one more than Hernandez.

Orioles: Johnson adjusting nicely

Rookie Steve Johnson is one of several young Baltimore arms who have made the transition from starter to reliever and, after tossing three scoreless innings in Saturday's 5-2 loss to the A's, the right-hander said the adjustment has gone smoothly so far.

"I'm learning," said Johnson, whose ERA stands at 1.35 in seven relief outings. "I'm not fully comfortable, but I'm comfortable enough to get the job done. I've been starting my whole life, so I've converted OK so far, but I've got a lot of work to do."

Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Tommy Hunter are also former starters currently in the Orioles bullpen.

Worth noting
• Erasmo Ramirez will start for the Mariners on Tuesday and Hernandez on Wednesday. The Orioles starters will be Wei-Yin Chen and Joe Saunders.

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