Chris Tillman delivered the Orioles’ third straight great start as the Orioles beat the team that drafted him, the Seattle Mariners, 3-1 Monday at Camden Yards. Tillman (W, 5-1) retired the first ten Mariners he faced, and didn’t give up a hit until Mike Carp singled through the infield shift with one out in the fifth. By then, the Orioles offense had given Tillman all the support he’d get.
The birds put together a three-run fifth against Jason Vargas (L, 12-8). Lew Ford started the O’s off with a one-out single. Three pitches later, Mark Reynolds drove an 88 MPH fastball into the gap in left-center. The double plated a hustling Ford, and the Orioles were up, 1-0. Vargas got Omar Quintanilla to fly out to left, bringing up Nick Markakis. On a 1-2 pitch, Vargas hung a 76 MPH curve in the middle of the plate, just above the knees. Markakis deposited it onto the flag court for a two-run home run, and a 3-0 Orioles lead.
The Mariners would be no match for Tillman until the eighth. Eric Thames led off with a double on a 3-2 pitch. M’s rookie shortstop Munenori Kawasaki stroked a sharp single to center, easily plating Thames. The rookie, seeing Jones’ throw head toward the plate, broke for second. Jones’ throw, as it turns out, was perfect. Reynolds cut it off halfway between the second base bag and the pitcher’s mound, went into a bit of a slide, and flipped a perfect soft-toss on the bag, into JJ Hardy’s glove. By the time Kawasaki got to the bag, Hardy was waiting. Having seen his young right hander shut down the Mariners through 7.1 innings, give up just one run on five hits and a walk, strike out five on 99 pitches, Buck Showalter went to the bullpen. The crowd of over 21,000 gave Tillman a rousing ovation as he came out of the game.
Pedro Strop came on, and walked his first batter, Dustin Auckley, on four pitches, before getting the final two outs of the inning.
In the ninth, Jim Johnson worked around a couple of infield hits to pick up his 33rd save, and give the O’s their third straight win.
The birds will hope Zach Britton (1-1, 8.35) can find himself after a couple of poor starts in a row. Britton starts for the Orioles Tuesday against Blake Beavan (7-6, 5.06) for the Mariners. Game time is 7:05.
- This string of starting pitching has been amazing. Before the Mariners scored in the eighth, the Orioles had a 28-inning scoreless streak.
- Mark Reynolds played a terrific game. He went 3-3 with a run and an RBI. Reynolds has been a streaky offensive player throughout his career. Let’s hope this is the start of something big. By the way, Reynolds also make several very good defensive plays.
- Two hits from Markakis, including the big blow in the game, his 11th homer.
- The offense didn’t give Tillman much of a choice but to shut the Mariners down. The birds collected eight hits and no walks, and went 1-7 with RiSP.