SARASOTA, Fla. - In his first spring training start of 2013, Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman threw 43 pitches in 1 2/3 innings tonight and was replaced by Daniel Schlereth with a runner on first base.
Tillman threw 22 of those pitches for strikes. His fastball topped out at 94 mph and hit 93 mph on multiple occasions.
Jacoby Ellsbury took a called third strike to begin the game, but Dustin Pedroia singled with one out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked with two outs. Tillman threw 25 pitches in the inning, 16 for strikes.
Tillman retired the first two batters in the second before walking Daniel Nava and exiting the game. He got ahead of six of the eight hitters.
“First time out, I’m not really disappointed,” he said. “I felt OK. Command was spotty at best. I guess you kind of expect it for first time out. Other than that, I felt pretty good.
“I was trying to work on my fastball command early. That’s what it’s all about the first time out. Mixed up my pitches. Fastball, changeup are there. Breaking stuff’s not where it needs to be right now, but it’s typical early in spring.”
Tillman has plenty of time to get a better feel for his breaking stuff.
“It is a long spring, but it’s all about getting ready for April,” he said. “I try not to think about it that way. Just try to get my work in. Pitch when I’m told to pitch.”
Schlereth retired Mark Hamilton on a broken-bat grounder to short after Matt Wieters was charged with a passed ball.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on Wieters’ RBI single after Adam Jones reached on an error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco, stole second and advanced to third on Saltalmacchia’s error.
Ciriaco replaced Will Middlebrooks, who left the game with soreness in his right wrist after one pitch from Tillman in the first inning. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
Ciriaco’s two-out single off Schlereth in the third inning tied the game, 1-1.
Former Orioles reliever Koji Uehara has entered the game in the bottom of the third inning.
Zach Britton will pitch the top of the fourth. He’s expected to go two innings if he can keep his pitch count down.
Update: Jonny Gomes homered on the third pitch from Britton to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Britton struck out Nava looking at a 91 mph fastball, allowed an infield hit to Hamilton and induced a double-play grounder from Ellsbury. He threw 13 pitches in the fourth, eight for strikes.
Britton returned for the fifth and got a called third strike on Pedroia, retired Shane Victorino on a pop up and got a called third strike on Saltalamacchia. He threw 11 pitches, nine for strikes. Very impressive.
Wieters has singled twice for the only Orioles hits.
Update II: Chris Davis, who struck out in his first two at-bats tonight, hit a two-run, opposite-field homer in the bottom of the sixth to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
Davis connected off Junichi Tazawa for his first spring home run after Nick Markakis led off with a single.
Tonight’s attendance: 6,105.
Update III: Taylor Teagarden’s bases-loaded, two-run single in the seventh increased the Orioles’ lead to 5-2.
Troy Patton inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the seventh and escaped it by getting a strikeout and ground ball. He gave up a run in the eighth after Ciriaco’s leadoff triple, but Chris Petrini stranded three runners after replacing him and allowing an infield hit to load the bases.
Manager Buck Showalter is emptying his bench. Lots of confusion here over No. 93 playing second base with no name on the back. It’s Zelous Wheeler, who singled in the seventh.
Update IV: Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out the side after the leadoff batter reached base, and the Orioles defeated the Red Sox, 5-3, in a game that lasted ... too long.
The Orioles improved to 5-0.