BALTIMORE — It is tough enough to sweep a doubleheader in the major leagues. Winning twice by shutouts? Well, the Baltimore Orioles hadn't pulled off that trick in 41 years.
Chris Tillman pitched seven innings of four-hit ball to win his fourth straight decision, and the Orioles breezed past the Cleveland Indians 8-0 Sunday night to complete a doubleheader sweep.
In the afternoon game, Ubaldo Jimenez tossed eight crisp innings and Baltimore got home runs from Jimmy Paredes and Manny Machado in a 4-0 victory.
The sweep boosted the Orioles to the top of the AL East by percentage points over Tampa Bay. Baltimore (41-34) has won 15 of 19 to move a season-high seven games above .500.
"To stay engaged in our division is a challenge," manager Buck Showalter said, "and our guys have done it."
It was the first time since Sept. 6, 1974, that the Orioles registered shutouts in both games of a doubleheader, according to STATS. The opposition that day was also Cleveland.
Tillman and Jimenez combined for 15 scoreless innings and the bullpen took care of the other three, allowing the Indians to pass second base only twice.
"I don't take for granted how hard that is," Showalter said.
Tillman (6-7) struck out six, walked none and reduced his ERA from 6.22 to 5.67. The right-hander hasn't lost since May 31, even though he surrendered six runs in 1 1/3 innings at Toronto in his last start.
"I was able to command the fastball and make some good pitches early on," Tillman said. "That's key to getting deep in a ballgame."
After Baltimore scored two unearned runs in the second inning, Chris Davis, Travis Snider and Chris Parmelee homered in a six-run fourth that made it 8-0.
Cleveland (33-41) absorbed its first doubleheader sweep since Sept. 8, 2009, against Texas. From the start of the 2010 season through last year, the Indians owned a 23-7 record in 15 doubleheaders.
Jason Kipnis, who started the day with a 20-game hitting streak, was a collective 0 for 7 with four strikeouts. David Murphy went 4 for 4 in the second game.
Manager Terry Francona was ejected in the ninth inning of the nightcap for arguing a third-strike call.
"Today was not a pretty day for us," he said. "I don't see guys grinding the at-bat. We're not doing the things we're capable of doing."
The Indians summoned Toru Murata (0-1) from the minors to make his major league debut in the nightcap. Now in his fifth season in the Cleveland organization, the 30-year-old Japanese right-hander allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings despite retiring the first five batters he faced.
"Just my fault," he said. "The ball high."
In the opener, the Orioles collected their 5,000th win since the move from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954.
Jimenez (7-3) allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked none in winning his fourth consecutive start. After going 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA last year, the right-hander owns a solid 3.09 ERA and leads the team in wins and strikeouts.
This is what the Orioles were looking for in February 2014 when they signed him as a free agent to a four-year, $50 million contract.
"We're getting to see the guy we thought Ubaldo could be," Showalter said.
Jimenez outpitched Trevor Bauer (6-5), who gave up four runs, five hits and a walk over seven innings.
"It's tough when they hit eight or nine balls hard," Bauer said. "Usually I give up eight or nine hard hits in the course of like two or three games."
The second game was a makeup of a rainout Saturday. Baltimore beat the Indians on Friday night and finished 5-1 against Cleveland, winning the season series for the first time since 2006.
UP AND DOWN
The Indians have lost seven of nine to dip seven games under .500.
The Orioles have won seven of eight. Baltimore jumped from third to first on Sunday, passing the Yankees and Tampa Bay.
Indians: DH/OF Nick Swisher (left knee inflammation) remains with the team as he works to return from the 15-day DL. He's been sidelined since June 14. "It's the hardest thing I've gone through in my life," Swisher said. "I miss crashing into walls every day."
Orioles: CF Adam Jones (sore right shoulder) started in the opener for the first time since June 20. He sat out the nightcap.
Indians: Cleveland sends Cody Anderson to the mound Monday night in the opener of four-game series at Tampa Bay.
Orioles: Baltimore opens a four-game series against the visiting Texas Rangers, who have lost seven of eight.
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