Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman finishes the first half strong
The Baltimore Orioles hit the all-star break in first place by two games after a strong victory by Chris Tillman against Anaheim.
It begins and ends with starting pitching; and the Baltimore Orioles got a decent effort by Chris Tillman in the final game of the unofficial first half of the season yesterday. Tillman’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 5 K. As manager Buck Showalter said after the game, Tillman wasn’t happy about the five walks. But the Orioles overcame that and were able to find ways out of those situations.
Tillman stands at 12-2 at the all-star break, and he’s looked good in his last two starts in obtaining that record. It’s almost a shame that Tillman looked so good yesterday in one sense. Yesterday being the final game before the all-star break, the bullpen was going to get a few days’ worth of rest to begin with. If this was a normal game going into another week we could have said that Tillman did a good service by his bullpen by going so deep into the game!
The lone run that Tillman surrendered came in the wake of one of the walks he issued – right off the bat in the first inning. Trout’s triple gave Calhoun (who had walked) a chance to scored from first. In a dramatic play at the plate, he appeared to have been thrown out. But Anaheim asked for a review – and the call was overturned, leaving the O’s trailing 1-0.
Call to the Pen
So here’s my issue with the review; it took almost three minutes for the umpires to rule the runner safe. On one hand you do appreciate the thoroughness of the job that they did in reviewing the play. However it’s worth saying that if it takes that long it might well be inconclusive at best. Keep in mind that they have to see “indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field.” That’s the standard, as opposed to having to see an angle where “in theory the runner could have touched home plate.” If it takes more than two minutes, it’s worth mentioning that maybe there’s no indisputable evidence.
Nevertheless, with the firepower in the Orioles’ lineup being down 1-0 after one inning isn’t a back-breaker. The Birds trailed until the fourth inning, in which Chris Davis sent a deep shot the opposite way into the left field grandstand for a two-run homer. You really saw Davis’ power on that shot, as it went the other way and it landed almost at the top of the grandstand. The left fielder barely even moved because he knew it was gone from the beginning.
Two innings later Pedro Alvarez hit a shallow blooper to left field, for what appeared to be the final out of the inning. However in a moment of miscommunication, Anaheim somehow allowed it to drop. To make matters worse for them, they airmailed the throw to second base – at the end of the day, Alvarez ended up at third. He would score a moment later on J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single, and the O’s held a 3-1 lead.
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Anaheim would inch closer in the eighth on a sac fly-RBI by Pujols, however Hardy’s solo homer in the last of the inning all but sealed the game for the O’s. They ended the first half on a high note, taking two-of-three from Anaheim before the team dispersed around the country for the break. The O’s also finished the first half in first place by two games in the American League East.
The only downside to this game was that Hyun-Soo Kim had to leave the game after the first inning with a hamstring injury. Buck Showalter said after the game that he injured his hamstring last year right before the all-star break in his previous league as well, and was back playing a few days later. So we’ll just have to see if he’s ready to go on Friday in Tampa.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop is balked to a Birds' win
As I said, the O’s now disperse around the country for some well-deserved time off. The team charter will leave from Baltimore for Tampa on Thursday night, but until then players will have the opportunity to take a few days off – before a stretch run for the AL East pennant, that is.