It begins and ends with starting pitching for the Baltimore Orioles, and last night that meant Chris Tillman. The Birds desperately needed a decent outing from a starter after a tough weekend series with Chicago. And they not only got a decent outing by Tillman, but they got a quality start. Tillman’s line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 3 K.
There were times when you thought Tillman was about to lose it, despite what the numbers say. However he worked his way through the order and through six innings, and put his team in a spot to win. And as I’ve said many times, you really can’t ask more of a starter.
Tillman’s lone run surrendered came on an RBI-double by Lucroy in the second inning. And admittedly, at that point the Orioles had to be thinking here we go again. However all it takes is one win to start a winning streak, and perhaps even one quality outing for a pitcher to turn things around. And the Orioles need that out of Tillman, and the entire rotation.
The O’s put runners on base in the last of the sixth, and eventually that netted them a run. Schoop’s sac fly-RBI tied the game, and let Tillman off the hook for the loss. Yes, you read that right. As great as Tillman pitched last night, he could have been on the hook for the loss.
However one inning later the Orioles had the lead and they never looked back. Seth Smith smacked a solo homer to straightaway center field, giving the O’s the lead at 2-1. For what it’s worth, it was the first time since the last of the ninth last Sunday in Minnesota that the O’s had held the lead.
And they weren’t done in that seventh inning at that point. Ruben Tejada smacked an RBI-single, running the lead to 3-1. And when you have a bullpen as strong as that of the Orioles, when you have a lead like that in those late innings you’re in good shape.
One has to hope that the O’s can piggyback off of this win, especially from a pitching perspective. Tillman gave a quality start last night, as I said. The entire staff needs to play that outing forward and get into a groove. If they can do that, they’ll still be competitive yet.