Tonight was not a good night for Chris Tillman. It's a shame, because he's looked pretty good since getting called up, he's had his moments, and it would have been great if he could have built on them tonight. But he put the Orioles in a position in the first inning from which they couldn't recover. Mark Buehrle simply shut them down, as he tends to do. The O's offense had just one good inning against him, but it wasn't nearly enough. The silver lining, if you choose to find it, is that the bullpen had a heck of a night, pitching 6.2 innings scoreless innings after Tillman was removed.
The White Sox jumped on Tillman immediately and it was plain to see he wasn't fooling anyone. The first five batters of the game reached base via single, home run, double, double, double. The result was a 4-0 lead for the White Sox before one batter had been retired. Tillman didn't allow any more runs to score in the inning, though he did walk Adam Dunn.
Juan Pierre led off the second inning just as he'd led off the first inning, and he doubled. Thankfully Tillman didn't allow him to come around to score, though he did walk Paul Konerko to make things interesting. He wasn't so fortunate in the third inning, though he did get abandoned by his defense (how many times have I said that recently? It feels like way too many).
Tillman struck out Alex Rios to start the third, but walked Dunn again. After a fly ball out to right field from Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel singled to right. Dunn headed to third and Markakis tried to throw him out. Dunn is slow, but Nick wasn't going to get him. Morel moved to second on the throw so there were two runners in scoring position. Then Pierre, batting for the third time in as many innings, hit a sharp ball to first base. The ball bounced off of Chris Davis' glove and into foul territory, allowing both runners to score.
That was it for Tillman, who was replaced by Brad Bergesen. Bergy got off to a rocky start by walking Alexei Ramirez, but did get the final out of the third inning. Bergesen pitched four more innings and allowed just two hits. Jason Berken followed Bergy and pitched 1.1 innings. When he got into some trouble, Mike Gonzalez came in to get the final two outs. A solid job all around by the pen (except that whole forgetting to cover first base thing by Gonzo, but luckily that didn't hurt them on the scoreboard).
The offense, down 4-0 before they even got a chance, couldn't solve Buehrle. He didn't allow a base runner until Nolan Reimold doubled with one out in the third inning. That started the only rally of the night. Nolan came around to score on a single by J.J. Hardy, then Hardy scored when Markakis hit his 11th home run on the year (and 100th of his career) onto Eutaw Street. The inning ended on an Adam Jones ground out, and that was it for the O's offense.
After that hiccup, Buehrle went back to being the Mark Buehrle who has pitched to a 2.78 ERA against the Orioles in his career. He completed eight innings and allowed just three more hits, all singles. Sergio Santos pitched an easy ninth to secure the win for the White Sox.
With the season series against the White Sox complete (they played to a 4-4 record), the Detroit Tigers come to town tomorrow for the weekend series.