The Mariners scored once in the top of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead, which might not seem too bad on the surface.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Chris Tillman hadn’t allowed a hit in the first two innings, but he threw 38 pitches. My math tells me that’s 19 pitches per inning. That doesn’t add up to quick outs.
Tillman opened the third by hitting No. 8 hitter Brendan Ryan (.208) and walking No. 9 hitter Michael Saunders (.180).
I don’t have to tell you the flaws in that arrangement.
Ichiro Suzuki fouled out to Robert Andino, who’s stayed busy tonight, but Chone Figgins singled up the middle on a 1-2 curveball to score Ryan.
Tillman struck out the next hitter, Justin Smoak, but he went from an 0-2 count to a full count and needed seven pitches to dispose of Seattle’s first baseman. Again, no quick outs on a night when the bullpen could use a breather.
Miguel Olivo grounded to short, leaving Tillman’s pitch count at 67 through the third, including 39 strikes.
Only one run scored in the inning, but it illustrated the flaws that Tillman knows he has to correct.
Instant update: Derrek Lee’s fly ball to the fence in right field scored Brian Roberts and tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the third. Roberts walked and took third base on Felix Pie’s single.
Lee has 10 RBIs this season. He’s the only Oriole to start every game.
Update II: Tillman has been strong since that troublesome third inning. He threw 13 pitches in the fourth and 10 in the fifth, allowing only an Ichiro two-out single. Matt Wieters threw out Ichiro attempting to steal to end the fifth.
Tillman has allowed one run and two hits, with two walks and four strikeouts, and he’s thrown 90 pitches through the fifth. He froze Saunders with a curveball for the second out in the fifth.
No action in the Orioles’ bullpen. Tillman will try to complete six innings for the third time in seven starts.