After the Orioles opened up their largest division lead in nearly 17 years with a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, the visiting clubhouse of U.S. Cellular Field was loose.

Players sang along to the lyrics of the Zac Brown Band's song, "Free," as it blasted from the speakers after the Orioles -- sparked by a magnificent start from right-hander Chris Tillman -- extended their American League East advantage over the New York Yankees to 8 1/2 games. It's the club's largest lead in the division since Sept. 7, 1997.

"It’s awesome to come to the park every day expecting to win, expecting to be successful, expecting to be a playoff team, to give yourself a chance to do something special,” said catcher Nick Hundley, who hit his third homer of the season in the seventh inning. “It’s a totally different feeling instead of counting down the days until your offseason starts. I’m very fortunate to be in this position, I’m very fortunate to play with this talent of a team, this quality of a team.”

The win also gave the Orioles (72-52) their ninth series win in their last 10. They're now a season-high 20 games over .500 and have the third-best record in the major leagues.

Since June 30, the Orioles are 30-13. And one of the biggest reasons why the Orioles have put a stranglehold on the division is the consistency of their starting rotation.

“They’ve been solid, they’ve been the reason we’ve been able to stay consistent with some ups and downs offensively,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Effort, pitching and defense -- if you can stay consistent in that, you can be a consistent team.”

On Tuesday, Tillman picked up where right-hander Bud Norris left off in Monday’s series opener. Tillman held the White Sox (59-67) to one run and three hits in eight innings Tuesday, recording his 12th quality start in his last 14 outings.

It marked the third consecutive game in which the Orioles have allowed just three hits or fewer, tying a franchise record on the road (July 17-19, 1992 at Texas).

“I think this time of year, it’s a big deal,” Tillman said. “To get to where we want to be, we’re going to have to keep doing that. We know that as a pitching staff. It’s fun. Bud set the table perfectly for this game. I’ve just got to go out and execute. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Orioles also won their 38th game on the road this season, most in the AL. They now have won 11 of their last 16 games away from Camden Yards and their rotation has a 2.74 ERA in that span.