The Orioles didn’t have more than one hit in an inning until the seventh tonight. Chris Tillman threw 43 balls and walked four batters. Despite those facts, the Orioles ended a three game losing streak Monday night by waiting-out Andrew Cashner and the Rangers.
Each starting pitcher issued a lone walk in the first inning, but nothing more. The MASN game-callers couldn’t say enough about how outstanding it was that Tillman didn’t give up a first inning run (or more). It was however decidedly appropriate because as it turns out, Chris Tillman came into tonight leading the world in first inning ERA (12+).
Chris didn’t manage to hang another goose egg in the second frame, though. With two outs and the bases empty, the always dangerous Drew Robinson came to the plate. It was obvious that the Orioles needed a plan. Tillman issued an unintentional walk. Solid.
It looked like a brilliant move, but ended up backfiring almost immediately. Jonathan Lucroy came up next and smacked a gapper that Adam Jones “over-boogied” on (thank you, Gary Thorne, for the verbiage), and Robinson scored easily.
Perhaps Adam boogied exactly enough, though, because he was able to nail Lucroy on the relay to third base. Jonathan Schoop has a cannon where most human individuals have arms. Officially, it was an RBI double, and the third out of the inning. 1-0 Rangers. It sure didn’t feel like it at the time, but that would be the only run the Rangers scored all night.
Medium-Welington Castillo singled to leadoff the Orioles third, but was erased on a Ruben Tejada GiDP, and AJ grounded out to end the inning. Manny Machado singled to leadoff the Orioles fourth, but was erased on a Jonathan Schoop GiDP, and Mark Trumbo grounded out to end the inning. It was a déjà vu of futility.
It didn’t feel like it at the time, but the offense would wake up later on.
Zeroes were exchanged on the scoreboard in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, but the Orioles managed their first run of the game in the sixth.
An Adam Jones walk followed by a Manny Machado single resulted in runners on the corners with one down. Jonathan Schoop knew what to do. A ball in the air meant a sac fly and an RBI for the O’s, and the score was knotted at 1-1.
Tillman was lifted in favor of Richard Bleier to start the seventh inning. Despite only allowing two hits and one run, Tillman still struggled with his command tonight. He gave up four walks across six innings, and only threw 52 of his 95 pitches for strikes. The result was good even if the method was still mostly ugly.
That analysis might seem nit-picky if only because of the level of ineptitude O’s fans have been treated to in the starting pitching department this year. But the bottom line is Chris Tillman still looked like he had no idea how to locate a pitch, and a result-based conclusion that 1 ER over 6.0 IP was “good” doesn’t make it so.
Bleier did Bleier things in the top of the seventh, allowing no runs on the way to looking generally good. If the O’s end up dealing from the back end of the bullpen this season, look for Bleier to step into a late-inning role.
The O’s finally broke the tie and changed the sleepy pace of this game in the bottom of the seventh. With two down, Seth “Dad” Smith whipped a glorious dong over the center field fence. Rangers centerfielder, Carols Gomez, could do nothing but watch it soar. Beef came up next and dealt a blow that chased Andrew Cashner from the game by adding a nice looking two-bagger to Dad’s dong.
Ruben Tejada didn’t think a one-run lead was enough, so he decided to line a single into right field. Castillo was off on contact with two (still) down, and scored easily on the play. Suddenly the score was 3-1 in favor of the Orioles, and there were only six outs left necessary for a win!
Richard Bleier came out to start the eighth inning, but as soon as the Rangers announced pinch-hitter, Mike Napoli, Mychal Givens got the call instead. Mychal got Napoli to fly out to center, struck out Shin-Soo Choo swinging, and induced a line out from Elvis Andrus. That. Will. Do.
The Orioles didn’t add any insurance runs in their half of the eighth, and Brad Brach came out for the save opportunity—wait, so I guess Zach Britton isn’t quite “ready?” Maybe not. Maybe he’s already a Dodger. Who knows?
Luckily the back of the O’s bullpen is currently stacked, and Brach got his 16th save of the season despite allowing a couple of baserunners.
Orioles win 3-1!
The Birds will ride this victory into tomorrow night, when Dylan Bundy will face off against Tyson Ross at 7:05pm EST
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 17, 2017?
This poll is closed
Chris Tillman (6.0IP, 2H, 1ER, 4BB, 3SO)
Seth Smith (game-winning homer)
Bleier/ Givens/ Brach (Win/ Hold/ Save; 3.0IP, 0ER)