The Orioles played nine innings of uninspiring baseball today as they were shut out by a rookie who wasn't even very good in the minors. Chris Tillman and two relief pitchers put together a decent game that on many days would have helped the Orioles win, but on this day the offense wasn't interested in doing its part.
The O's hitters were just completely useless against starting pitcher Shane Greene, a fellow making just his second big-league start and who possessed a 4.61 ERA at AAA this season. In fact, Greene faced our own Norfolk Tides on June 5th and gave up eight runs in three innings. But in today's game against the team that the Tides are all hoping to get to, Greene didn't give up a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning. After that the Orioles looked like they might finally do something against him, putting two runners on fifth and sixth innings. But ultimately they were unable to get the hit they needed with runners on base, and the kid that got lit up by the Tides one month ago pitched into the eighth inning without giving up a run. His final pitching line was 7 1/3, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Oof.
Chris Tillman had what I'd call a middling day. He certainly did enough to keep his team in the game, but he was far from dominant. He walked three and threw a lot of waste pitches that didn't entice many swings. The damage could have been worse if the Yankees hadn't gotten two runners thrown out at the plate (though only one would have been charged to Tillman, in fairness).
In the third inning, Mark Teixeira hit a two-out double down the right field line with Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter on base. Gardner scored easily, but Jeter, a 40-year-old man trying to score from first, was thrown out. In the seventh inning, which was Tillman's last, Kelly Johnson singled and moved to second base on a wild pitch, which made it easy for him to come in and score on a single by Jeter. Jeter went to second on the throw home, and that was the end of Tillman's day.
T.J. McFarland came in to pitch in relief, and it's kind of weird that he has become the go-to lefty in the pen. But when your best lefty has been designated as the closer and the only other lefty is Brian Matusz, I guess it makes sense. McFarland did not retire the lefty he came in to face, as Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to right field to knock in Jeter and make the score 3-0.
McFarland then intentionally walked Teixeira to get to Brian McCann. That move worked out, but not in the way it was supposed to. McCann singled up the middle to Adam Jones, and Ellsbury was waved in to try and score. The throw to the plate wasn't even close Nick Hundley had the ball with plenty of time to spare. Joe Girardi came out to argue that Hundley was inappropriately blocking the plate (he wasn't, not even close). He waved at his players to stay on the field as the 7th inning stretch people got set up around them. Finally he chose not to challenge as someone began singing America the Beautiful behind him. He was still complaining about it to the umpire when we returned from commercial, because he is the worst.
There was little action from either side after that, as Ryan Webb pitched two perfect innings for the Orioles and the Yankees used three relievers over the final 2 2/3, including a 1-2-3 9th from closer David Robertson.
So that game was a stinker, but tomorrow Kevin Gausman will take the mound as the Orioles try to wrap up the first half with a win. The game is on ESPN at 8 p.m.