For the second time this season, Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman failed to record an out in the second inning and put the Orioles in a big hole early. Despite the big deficit, the Birds nearly completed an impressive comeback, but two key JJ Hardy errors led to a three run seventh inning as the Orioles failed to complete the three game sweep with a 8-6 loss to the Texas Rangers.
It was evident right from the start that Tillman did not have his best stuff, in fact, it was evident that Tillman did not even have is average stuff. Tillman was struggling with his command and the first four hitters of the game for Texas reached base before a strikeout and a double play helped limit the damage in the first inning to just two runs.
The struggles continued however, as he could not get an out in the second as he allowed a single, home run, walk, walk, and a single to begin the second frame and presented the Orioles with a 5-0 deficit, which was enough for Manager Buck Showalter to call it a night for Tillman. His final line read one inning, while allowing five runs on six hits, three walks, one home run and one strikeout and needed 51 pitches just to get to that point.
Tillman's ERA is now up to 5.20 and he has continued to struggle all season with the first and second innings.
Due to the poor start, Baltimore wound up using five relievers in the ball game, and Brad Brach had an impressive outing as he tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Tillman and really kept the Orioles in the game and allowed the offense to comeback.
Ryan Webb came on in relief of Brach and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings himself before handing the ball off to Brian Matusz (2-2) in the bottom of the seventh. Matusz took the loss, but that's because he was the victim of some very uncharacteristic defense from shortstop JJ Hardy. The Gold Glover committed two errors, one throwing and one fielding, in the first three batters of the inning and it proved to be too many outs given to the Rangers offense as they would score three runs in the inning to break the 5-5 tie.
When it was all said and done, the Baltimore bullpen did a fabulous job as they tossed eight innings, while allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
Offensively, the Orioles hitters continued their recent tear at the plate and erased a five run deficit courtesy of a two run home run from Nick Markakis in the third inning and a three run fifth inning courtesy of a two out, two run double from Adam Jones and a RBI single by Chris Davis. Jones would add a solo home run later for his eighth of the season.
Jones (2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R) and Davis (2-4, RBI) were the lone Orioles to have multi-hit games, but six of the nine Orioles starters recorded at least one hit.
The loss wrapped up a 10-game road trip that saw the Orioles go 5-5, and will finally return home to Baltimore tonight to start a 10-game home stand where they will host the Oakland A's for three starting tonight. The Birds will send Wei-Yin Chen (6-2) to the mound for the start against A's starter Tommy Milone (3-3) with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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