On this absolutely beautiful Mother's Day, Camden Yards was packed with a sellout crowd, Chris Davis was back in the lineup, and the Orioles were going for the sweep. Sadly, that last part wasn't meant to be, but I hope the 45,000 at the game had a nice time anyway. Chris Tillman again couldn't pitch deep into the game and the Orioles offense couldn't string together enough hits to overcome the three-run deficit Tillman put them in in the first inning. The loss ends the O's five-game win streak.
Tillman's last few starts have been uninspiring, to say the least. Three starts ago he gave up six runs in one inning. Two starts ago he threw 49 pitches in the first inning and walked in two runs. One start ago he gave up three runs in six innings, which felt like a victory compared to what we had been seeing. But today he was in trouble from the get go. Eight of his first ten pitches were balls, resulting in two walks ahead of Astros catcher-turned-DH Jason Castro, who needed just one pitch to hit a home run to center field. He then walked another guy before the inning was over, and ended up throwing 32 pitches in the inning.
While he didn't allow any runs after the first, Tillman kept allowing baserunners and never got his pitch count under control. The Astros put two men on in the second and third innings and one man on in the fourth. The fifth inning, which was Tilman's last, was his only clean inning of the game. He left the game with 105 pitches thrown and five walks allowed. Not a banner day for the Orioles so-called #1 starter.
Even with the poor game by Tillman, three runs isn't exactly impossible to overcome. But the Orioles hitters just weren't effective against Astros starter Jarred Cosart. It didn't help that there was a partial forfeit lineup in place with David Lough and Ryan Flaherty taking the place of Steve Pearce and Jonathan Schoop in the lineup. They had chances, like a one-out single from Manny Machado in the first inning, and walk by Nelson Cruz and single by J.J. Hardy in the second.
Finally, in the third inning, the O's were able to get a few runs on the board. They had a singles parade with four straight from Nick Markakis, Machado, Chris Davis, and finally Adam Jones. Jones' hit knocked in two runs to make it a one-run game. The had a big chance to go ahead in the 5th inning when a walk from Markakis and a one-out double from Davis put runners on second and third with one out, but Jones struck out and Cruz hit a fly ball to left field to strand the runner. Honestly, it looked like Nick could have scored from first on the double into right field, but third base coach Bobby Dickerson held him at the last minute. Shame. That was their last chance, too, as the bats went to sleep for the rest of the game other than a single from Steve Clevenger in the sixth inning.
With Tillman out of the game after just five innings, T.J. McFarland came it to eat up some innings. He wasn't exactly sharp, but the only real trouble he got into was a two-run homer by Marc Krauss that gave the Astros a three-run lead. McFarland pitched three full innings, with Troy Patton coming in to pitch the ninth after McFarland gave up a leadoff single. Patton didn't allow a baserunner.
So the Orioles weren't able to sweep the Astros, which stinks. And their five-game winning streak is over, which stinks. But they are still in first place and they've still won five of their last six, which isn't too shabby. Tomorrow the Detroit Tigers come to town for a three game series, so hold on to your butts.