“I was real proud of Chris tonight,” said manager Buck Showalter. “You think of all the challenges for a young pitcher. He’s had six days, and the rain. In today’s age, everybody sees the radar maps. He carried a good fastball early on, and I thought the bases-loaded, no-outs situation was impressive, too, to get out of that where he was in the batting order and keep us in the game.”
Tillman escaped that bases-loaded jam in the sixth by allowing only one run, and the Orioles broke up Brandon Morrow’s perfect game bid by scoring four times in the bottom half of the inning - the last three runs coming on Adam Jones’ homer. It was quite a turnaround.
“The first hit seems to relax everybody and puts him in the stretch for the first time all night, basically,” Showalter said. “He was carrying that type of stuff tonight and you can see why they’re so high on him. You look at reports that come in on him, you realize he’s got a chance to be pretty good. Rick (Adair) had him over in Seattle and he thinks the world of him.”
Tillman was hitting 94 mph again tonight, and he did it throughout the game.
“Sometimes, guys get a little more laissez-faire and just let it fly,” Showalter said. “It’s an opportunity he knows at some point he has to take advantage of, but this is a 23-year-old young man, and hopefully he’s learning some things from all the experiences he’s been put in. But he knows four days from now, he’ll get another challenge.”
Jones ended up with four RBIs tonight. He’s hit safely in 13 of the last 14 games and has eight multi-hit games in the last 14.
His three-run homer went to the opposite field.
“I think the way he hit it, too, was key. Not trying to do too much,” Showalter said.
“Very seldom do guys just out-stuff him. He gets himself out and he knows that. He’s got so much want-to in everything he does. But I’m proud of him, the way he approaches it every day. There’s not a day he’s not ready to play for the most part, and that’s a challenge when you’re playing every day in center field in the American League East.”
Mark Reynolds was very impressive again at first base.
“If you look at his history, it’s not like this is the first time he’s been out there,” Showalter said. “I think a lot of it has to do with that he wants to do well. As soon as D-Lee (Derrek Lee) left, he got his mitt in the next day because he knew the club might need him to play over there some. He’s worked hard at it. You watch him today during batting practice, taking balls off the bag from the holding-runner-on position. He doesn’t want to be an anchor over there. He wants to go over there and contribute.
“I thought the double play he turned was a key part of the game. Tilly’s tank was about empty there and they centered him up a couple times.”
One more Brian Matusz note: Showalter told reporters that Matusz was hit on the foot in the second or third inning tonight, but he continued to pitch and held Rochester to one run over seven innings. As I wrote earlier, his fastball was 87-92 mph and mostly sat at 89.