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Orioles complete sweep of White Sox behind five shutout innings from Chris Tillman

Orioles complete sweep of White Sox behind five shutout innings from Chris Tillman

BALTIMORE -- Chris Tillman pitched five sharp innings in his season debut, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Trey Mancini had three hits and drove in a run for the Orioles, who took an early 4-0 lead against Jose Quintana (2-5) and coasted to their fourth straight victory.

Sidelined since March with right shoulder bursitis, Tillman came off the disabled list to join an unstable rotation in need of another arm. After walking the first two batters and working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Tillman bounced back nicely in his first appearance since the 2016 AL wild-card game.

Tillman (1-0) gave up three singles, walked three and struck out four. The right-hander was lifted after throwing 93 pitches, but not before proving he's still got the stuff that enabled him to go 16-6 last season.

Alec Asher followed, and Brad Brach got two outs for his seventh save.

With the victory, Baltimore finished its first three-game home sweep of the White Sox in 18 years and improved to 20-10 for the first time since 2005.

Quintana allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings. He issued two walks, two singles and two runs in the first inning, then gave up two runs and four hits in the second.

The lefty was 2-0 with an 0.64 ERA in his previous two starts, both against Kansas City.

Yolmer Sanchez had three hits for the White Sox, who were swept for the first time this season. Manager Rick Renteria was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Paul Emmel.

Chris Davis hit a sacrifice fly and Mancini added an RBI single in the first.

Manny Machado and Adam Jones hit RBI singles in the second to complete the scoring.

TIME OFF

White Sox SS Tim Anderson was given the day off. "Someone close to him passed. I'm giving him time to deal with it," Renteria said.

HELLO, OLD FRIEND

The Orioles will be see former catcher Matt Wieters during a home-and-home interleague series against Washington that begins Monday. Wieters played eight seasons in Baltimore before signing as a free agent with the Nationals.

"Matt gave a lot of things to us and we gave a lot of things to Matt," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: RHP Zach Putnam (right elbow inflammation) is "getting better in the whole rehab process," Renteria said. Putnam has been on the DL since April 23.

Orioles: C Fernando Pena left in the eighth inning with a thumb injury. ... 2B Jonathan Schoop sat out a second straight game with a bruised hand after being hit by a pitch Friday night. "I'm hoping he's back (Monday) but he's still got some soreness there," Showalter said.

UP NEXT

White Sox: After taking Monday off, Chicago opens a three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins. The teams have thus far split six games.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman starts Monday night at Camden Yards against the first-place Nationals. The series shifts to Washington on Wednesday.

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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