BALTIMORE -- A year ago, Manny Machado was playing shortstop for Double-A Bowie and learning third base. Now, he's headed to the All-Star Game in New York after Sunday's finale against Toronto as one of the best third basemen in the Major Leagues.
Times certainly have changed very quickly.
Machado's been a pleasant surprise since the Orioles called him up from Bowie to play third base, not shortstop, last August. His defense has been tremendous from the start, but his offensive skills are really showing this season.
Machado enters the first-half finale hitting .311 with seven homers, 45 RBIs and a baseball-best 39 doubles.
"Hard work pays off," Machado said. "And you get a reward for it. I'm just really blessed about it. This team, they've really helped me out a lot in everything I've ever asked."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he's certainly enjoyed watching this young player evolve into something special.
"It's been fun to watch," Showalter said. "It's been a great moment in his life. He doesn't take it for granted. We'll all kind of look at him when he comes back, and we'll all kind of live through him a little bit. It's like Billy Martin told me a long time ago: 'Try as you may, you can't screw up the good ones.'"
Davis ties AL record with 37th homer before break
BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis tied an American League record for the most homers before the All-Star break when he hit his 37th shot this year in the third inning of Sunday's 7-4 win against the Blue Jays.
Davis hit a two-run homer to left off Josh Johnson to give the Orioles a 6-0 lead, tying Reggie Jackson's record from 1969 with Oakland. Barry Bonds has the Major League record with 39 homers before the break, set in his historic 2001 season with the Giants.
"I think it's something definitely to be proud of," said Davis, who also hit a two-run double in his 2-for-4 day. "It means I've been doing my job, but it also speaks volumes about the guys in front of me really swinging the bats well."
Davis has now homered in four consecutive games. He leads the Major Leagues in home runs and will represent the Orioles in New York for his first All-Star Game appearance on Tuesday night.
He's also going to compete in the Chevrolet Home Run Derby on Monday.
Download the official MLB.com Home Run Derby Game, featuring 24 sluggers from the 2010-12 Home Run Derby events. Connect and challenge gamers on the worldwide leaderboards. Available for free on the Apple App Store.
Added to roster, Tillman brings O's All-Star total to five
BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman got a pleasant surprise Sunday, when he was named to the All-Star Game as a late replacement for Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander on the American League roster for Tuesday's game in New York.
Tillman is 11-3 with a 3.95 ERA and 89 strikeouts over 111 2/3 innings in his fifth Major League season, and said while the news surprised him and will force him to change some plans, that is just fine with him.
"It was a big surprise," Tillman said. "I found out earlier today. It's big to be going to something like this. I found out it was a possibility yesterday."
In the end, it came down to making sure the Tigers played in Detroit. When Verlander made his first pitch, and took a no-hitter into the seventh, the All-Star berth went to Tillman. The 25-year old is the Orioles' fifth All-Star -- the club's best representation since 1997, when it also had five.
"It's a great moment for him and he deserves it," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's been solid for us."
Tillman's teammates were also thrilled to see him get some major recognition after a strong first half.
"It's huge. We were all just as excited as he was when we found out today," first baseman Chris Davis said, another All-Star. "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."
Tillman will join Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Manny Machado in New York to represent the team.
The 1997 group included Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr., and Robert Alomar, plus Brady Anderson, Mike Mussina and Randy Myers.
Pearce's wrists getting better after injection
BALTIMORE -- Manager Buck Showalter said Steve Pearce, on the disabled list with wrist tendinitis, is getting better.
Pearce was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 21. It's listed as left wrist tendinitis, but both wrists apparently were causing trouble.
"Steve is progressing ... with an injection, [we'll see] how that manages," Showalter said Sunday. "There's only one wrist bothering him now. Makes you wonder how much it was bothering him when he was here and he wasn't letting on."
Pearce started slowly, but came on later before the injury, hitting .235 average with three homers and nine RBIs when he went on the DL.
• The Orioles have hit a homer in 16 consecutive games against American League East teams entering Sunday's matinee against the Blue Jays. That ties a franchise record, set from May 18-June 24, 1979.
• The 130 homers the Orioles have hit entering Sunday ranks second in club history before the All-Star break. The record is 134, held by the 1996 team that went to the playoffs as a Wild Card winner.
• Catcher Matt Wieters threw out two would-be basestealers Saturday and has now nailed 16 of 36 trying to run on him this season.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.