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BAL@HOU: Tillman fans eight over seven innings

The day of the final game before the All-Star break, Orioles starter Chris Tillman found out he was added to the American League roster to replace Justin Verlander.

Tillman didn't pitch in the game, but he'll make his first start Sunday since having the "All-Star" designation added to his resume. He'll face the Rangers as the Orioles look for the three-game sweep in the series finale.

The right-hander, who won 11 games before the break, has been mostly consistent in a rotation that was in flux in the season's first half.

"We were all just as excited as he was when we found out," Chris Davis said when the team first learned Tillman was in. "The guy's worked hard all year. He's been a guy that we really depend on, a guy that's really been a horse for us."

The 25-year old has pitched to a 3.95 ERA and went 11-3 before the break with 89 strikeouts in 111 2/3 innings pitched.

The Rangers will counter with Martin Perez, the 22-year old left-hander who struggled in his final start before the break. He took the loss when he gave up five earned runs to the Tigers over 5 2/3 innings in Detroit on July 14.

"He was facing a pretty good team," manager Ron Washington said of the left-hander's struggles.

The Rangers had won each of his previous four starts, though, including an 8-4 win over the Orioles on July 9. In six starts this season, Perez has a 3.00 ERA and 20 strikeouts vs. 10 walks.

"He just has to continue to pitch. We're not going to anoint him. Seasons make success, not a couple of games," Washington said.

Washington also said they won't limit the young left-hander's innings, and had one simple goal for Perez the rest of the way: "Just continue to improve. He's going to keep pitching the whole year if he's healthy and continues to prove he can pitch. With youth, things can change just like that."

Orioles: McLouth ends month-long stolen-base drought
At one point this season, Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth was on pace to eclipse 60 stolen bases. The team even had a giveaway this season with a cartoon likeness of McLouth dubbed the "Base Bandit."

But until his first-inning swipe Saturday -- his career-high 25th of the season -- McLouth had gone more than a calendar month without a successful stolen-base attempt.

That's just fine with manager Buck Showalter, who said that pitchers have become quicker to the plate with McLouth on base, which in turn makes hitters behind him more effective.

"It's not there. Guys are about 1.1 [seconds] to the plate when he's over there now. And he's not going to run into outs," Showalter said. "If they relax on him again, he'll ambush them."

Rangers: Pudge joins the club
Ivan Rodriguez was welcomed to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame on Saturday during a pregame ceremony. The 1999 AL MVP is the 16th member to be enshrined.

The 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glove Award winner had to wait out a 45-minute rain delay.

In a ceremony that included Rangers Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Jim Sundberg, Rusty Greer and John Wetteland, Ryan dubbed Rodriguez one of the greatest catchers of all time.

"I've been hearing all those awards, and I was saying to myself, 'Wow.' You don't believe all those things," Rodriguez said. "But I guess I did all that. I still don't get it. I guess I played for a long time."

Worth noting
• Tillman has not faced the Rangers this season, and no Rangers hitter has as many as 10 career at-bats against him. David Murphy, who has the most at-bats against the right-hander, is 2-for-9 lifetime.

• The Orioles have won the last four matchups between the two clubs.

• Ian Kinsler holds the Rangers' all-time record for stolen bases (162) and hit-by-pitches (55). Comments