Texas used a big sixth inning against Chris Tillman to defeat the Baltimore Orioles.
Chris Tillman knew that not all of his starts would be cake and ice cream this season for the Baltimore Orioles. Or since the Birds are in Texas perhaps I should have said BBQ and cornbread! Nevertheless, Texas used a big sixth inning last night to send the O’s to defeat for the second straight game. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Keep in mind that what’s now called Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX isn’t kind to pitchers. Tillman was moving along quite well in the game, and then the sixth inning hit – which I’ll get to in a moment. So did the O’s keep Tillman in the game too long in a sense? Probably so. However it’s often tough to see pitchers starting to tire, especially in a park and in heat and humidity that can be so harsh to hurlers.
The Birds took an early lead in the third inning when Joey Rickard smacked an RBI-double, scoring Reimold. And that play also shows what can happen when mistakes occur. Reimold had gotten on base with a blooper that fell into shallow right field. The Texas fielders miscommunicated, allowing the ball to drop. Reimold hustled to second base for a double, and a moment later he came around to score on Rickard’s shot.
Call to the Pen
Texas would tie the score in the last of the third on an RBI-single of their own, however a two-out solo homer in the fourth inning off the bat of Mark Trumbo would put the Orioles back in the lead. They would extend that lead to 3-1 in the sixth on a Hardy RBI-single. The O’s appeared to be in the driver’s seat with Tillman dealing…and then the sixth inning hit.
Texas used an RBI-double from Mooreland, and an RBI-single from Desmond to tie the game. Odor’s two-RBI double would give them the lead at 5-3, and Odor himself would end up at third base on the relay throw. He would later score on Andrus’ RBI-single, capping the scoring and giving Texas a 6-3 lead.
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In Tillman’s case, they say you need to stay out of the big inning. That was obviously something he was unable to do, and it ruined an otherwise decent outing. But in fairness, there were a lot of things that were beyond Tillman’s control in this situation. The aforementioned RBI-double that started the inning hung in the air forever and still wasn’t caught. Desmond’s RBI-single was a broken bat infield hit.
It was a reminder of the 2014 ALCS against Kansas City in which it seemed all of
KC’s runs came on broken bat and bloop singles. Showalter on Tillman (quote courtesy of Rock Kubatko of MASNsports):
"Over the course of a season, those things kind of equal out, He’ll have some outings maybe not as crisp. I’ve been so impressed with how crisp he’s been since first day of spring. Really the second outing of spring. And he’s carrying this type of stuff, he’s going to be a real contributor for us. Just not a whole lot you can do. He made good pitches and they hit them in places you can’t defend."
Texas hitters such as Mooreland also placed the ball right where the scouting reports say that they wouldn’t. And sometimes that happens. It’s also a stark reminder that this game is still played by human beings. Computers might tell us that someone normally hits the ball here or there, however the human element can often take over. It’s part of the beauty or at times frustration of baseball.
The series continues this evening in Texas for the Birds, who will send Vance Worley to the mound. He’ll be opposed by Texas’ Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 8 PM. Tonight is also Jackie Robinson Day leaguewide, which means that all players will wear number 42 in honor of the great Brooklyn Dodger who forever changed baseball, and America.