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OAK@SEA: Samardzija fans five over eight vs. Mariners

A change in uniform has not meant a change in results for Jeff Samardzija.

In his two starts since being traded from the Cubs to the Athletics, Samardzija has been exactly what division-leading Oakland has needed. Samardzija will try to keep up his impressive American League debut when he takes the ball Friday against Baltimore.

He has pitched 15 innings and allowed just nine hits and one walk while posting a 2.40 ERA. Since moving to the AL, opponents are hitting just .180 against him.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced that right-hander Chris Tillman will take the mound to start the second half against the A's.

Tillman was at times inconsistent through the first half, but finished with six quality starts in his last seven outings headed into the All-Star break.

"I think [I'm] getting better," Tillman, who is 7-5 with a 4.11 ERA, said of his first half. "I had a rough start, but it's not how you start; it's how you finish. I think we are only getting better as a pitching staff. It's been fun to show up every day and watch these guys go to work, so I'm happy with the fact that it's getting better."

In Samardzija's most recent start, Friday against Seattle, he suffered the tough loss despite tossing eight innings of three-run ball while striking out five. The complete game was his first of the season and first since Aug. 19, 2013.

Samardzija allowed a run in the second, third and sixth innings against the Mariners. In the other five innings, he faced the minimum. The A's staked Samardzija to a 2-0 lead, but Seattle ace Felix Hernandez shut them down the rest of the way.

"You can't give up those runs -- especially when your team gives you a 2-0 lead right off the bat," Samardzija said after his last start. "You got to do what you can to protect that lead and not give Felix the chance to get back in that game."

Samardzija has never faced Baltimore and Friday's start will be only his second at O.co Coliseum.

Orioles: Machado to see A's for first time since suspension
Manny Machado and the Orioles will play the A's for the first time since Machado was the igniting force behind a benches-clearing incident in June.

On June 6, Machado took exception to a hard tag by third baseman Josh Donaldson. Two days later, he threw his bat toward third base on a swing after consecutive brush-back pitches from A's reliever Fernando Abad, who received a four-game suspension for his role, and both benches cleared as a result.

Machado's actions earned him a five-game suspension, which was upheld after an appeal. He would later apologize for his role in the event.

"People make bad mistakes in their lives, but all you can do is learn from it and keeping play the game how I play," Machado said after learning his suspension would be upheld. "I'm not going to change how I play the game. Play the game the right way. Play hard and just playing baseball, hopefully people see it that way. Just go out there and show it."

Athletics: Wins not equaling separation
The A's have won eight of their last 11 games while atop the AL West -- but still lead the division by just 1 1/2 games.

The Angels have been hot on Oakland's heels, going 10-1 in their last 11 contests to close the gap heading into the All-Star break. The Angels have not been closer than 1 1/2 games from first place since being one game back on Opening Day.

Oakland has not been in second place since April 23 and has not held a lead of less than 1 1/2 games since April 28.

Worth noting
• Samardzija has only faced three current Orioles in his career: Nick Hundley, Steve Pearce and J.J. Hardy. They are a combined 2-for-15 (.133) with seven strikeouts against him.

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