Chris Tillman retired the Mariners in order in the top of the first inning tonight, which might not seem like such a big deal until you consider how badly he's struggled at the beginning of his starts.
Tillman had posted a 11.57 ERA in the first inning in his five outings this season, and opponents were batting .462 against him. He gave up four doubles and two home runs, and he walked two batters.
Also, consider that six runs against him on July 16 were unearned, when he lasted only two-thirds of an inning against the Twins.
Tillman has retired the first six batters he's faced tonight, and the Orioles gave him a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Mark Reynolds doubled to score Lew Ford - only his second RBI since July 20 - and Nick Markakis belted his 11th home run.
Markakis is 2-for-2 tonight. He entered the game batting .340 in 23 games as the Orioles' leadoff hitter.
Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas had allowed only one earned run in his last 21 innings against the Orioles, but they ambushed tonight in the second.
Markakis was 1-for-14 lifetime against Vargas before tonight.
Down on the farm, first-round pick Kevin Gausman has retired the first six batters he's faced for short-season Single-A Aberdeen in his professional debut at State College. He struck out two in the opening inning.
Update: Gausman retired all nine batters he faced. He's done for the night. Fantastic debut for the former LSU pitcher.
Maybe he was inspired by Ben McDonald being in the WBAL Radio booth tonight.
Tillman has retired all nine batters he's faced. He's allowed only one earned run in 17 1/3 innings against the team that traded him to the Orioles.
Orioles pitchers haven't allowed a run in 24 straight innings.
Update II: Tillman has allowed one hit in five scoreless innings, Mike Carp's one-out single in the fifth. He's walked one and struck out three. He's thrown 62 pitches, 42 for strikes.
The Orioles' scoreless-innings streak is up to 26 innings.