BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Orioles were looking to capture their seventh win of the 2018 season against the Detroit Tigers, who had Mike Fiers (2-1, 3.71) on the mound. The Orioles would counter with Chris Tillman (0-4, 9.87), who had his strongest outing of the season against the Cleveland Indians. In that last outing, Tillman went six innings, allowing four runs.
The Orioles got on the board first with a Manny Machado solo shot in the in the bottom of the first inning. It was Machado’s ninth home run of the year, putting Baltimore up 1-0.
Baltimore struck for gold once again in the fifth inning with another solo shot. This time it was from designated hitter Pedro Alvarez, who now has three home runs on the season. The Orioles increased their lead to 2-0.
In the bottom of sixth, Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph led off with a double. After his leadoff double, second baseman Jace Peterson stepped to the plate. Peterson batted the ball up the middle, kicking off of the second base bag and going into right field. This allowed for Joseph to reach home safely and Peterson rounded first and into second with a double for the 3-0 lead.
Baltimore would strike the iron again, starting with a leadoff single by third baseman Danny Valencia. After Valencia’s single, Alvarez would step to the plate, looking for more. He would take the ball deep to center field for a two-run home run. It was his second home run of the game and first multi-HR game of the season, putting the Orioles up 5-0.
“We all try to do our part,” Alvarez said of the Orioles batters. “And every time that I go up there, I just try to get a pitch and fortunately, I was able to put some good swings on the ball and drive it out of the park.”
Once again in the eighth inning, the Orioles would score. Peterson led off with a single off of reliever Johnny Barbato. Barbato would throw a wild pitch in the vicinity of Machado’s head, advancing Peterson to second base. Machado would then take the ball to right field on the ground for an RBI single, scoring Peterson. The Orioles would take a 6-0 lead, where they would hold onto the lead with scoreless innings pitched by Richard Bleier in the eighth and Mychal Givens for the win.
The biggest story of the day came from the aforementioned Tillman. Tillman would go seven innings, allowing just one hit, while walking two and striking out five batters. He wouldn’t allow one run during his outing and it was his first quality start of the season. It was his longest start since working seven innings on August 11, 2016 against the Oakland Athletics.
“I think Caleb [Joseph] and the defense,” said Tillman on what made him so effective. “I think that they did an outstanding job. That was fun to throw to him, he did a very good job. The defense was as good as you’re going to find. As long as you’re executing pitches, it’ll turn out well.”
With his win, he snapped a streak of 22 consecutive games without a win. It was his first win of the season and his first win since May 7, 2017, which was his 2017 debut.
“It’s fun to watch,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Tillman’s outing. “It was one outing – I thought he was close last outing. He pitched six innings last time out. His secondary stuff was better – get the curveball going, he had that as a weapon.
“But it’s tough because I sit there and go ‘okay, you want to win the game’. Obviously that’s number one. You want Chris [Tillman] to get something positive because you know what it all could mean to us if Chris can get going like Chris is capable.
“It could make what I think to be a good rotation into a really good one. But, you know, he didn’t give them any opportunity. He gave up one hit. It was tempting to let him pitch the next inning. He was solid. It was fun to watch.
“Everybody’s been through some tough times in this game, but especially the way he internalizes it so much, you know he wants to contribute. More importantly, it’s like a guy with a lot of power, who can’t get to it. It’s like when you’ve got skills that you know he’s capable of having and you’re just not able to execute it.
“I thought when he got through the first inning, you see a lot of weak contact and a lot of the stuff you see when Chris Tillman is having a good outing.”
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(Photo Credit: Hugh Scott/FOX Sports 1340 AM)