Chris Tillman must circle the dates on his Orioles schedule that include games against the Mariners. Then, he must duck inside manager Buck Showalter’s office and beg to start each one of them.
Tillman is 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners, with only three earned runs allowed in 27 2/3 innings. He’s posted a 0.69 WHIP against them.
The Mariners have long regretted the Erik Bedard trade. It doesn’t stop Tillman from throwing it in their faces.
Tillman retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the top of the first inning tonight. He threw nine of his 13 pitches for strikes.
In other words, it was Tillman vs. the Mariners.
Nate McLouth led off the bottom of the first with a single, making him 4-for-31 lifetime against right-hander Aaron Harang. Manny Machado and Nick Markakis walked to load the bases with no outs and Adam Jones followed with a double to left field.
All three runners crossed the plate. Jones was credited with two RBIs, and a third run scored on left fielder Raul Ibanez’s error.
Jones, the main piece of the now-infamous Erik Bedard trade with the Mariners, took third on Chris Davis’ grounder and scored on Matt Wieters’ sacrifice fly.
Orioles 4, Mariners 0
Former second baseman Roberto Alomar threw out the ceremonial first pitch after being inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame. He actually flipped it to Alexi Casilla, one of his signature moves.
In other news, we have confirmation that Casilla is still with the team.
“Robbie always seemed like there was another level he could go to,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He could almost will things to happen. ‘OK, the club needs a home run here. There’s a home run. They need a stolen base. Here’s a stolen base.’ He’s also one of those guys who you swear he was hitting every inning.
“I still think one of, if not the best teams I ever saw in baseball were those teams in Toronto. Trying to manage and coach against those guys - switch-hitters everywhere, defenders everywhere, great starting staff, unbelievable bullpen. They actually let you play a little bit with them for six or seven innings and then just go, ‘OK, see you later.’
“Most times, turf doesn’t expose a guy’s skill set, but turf did with him. The faster and quicker and bouncier it was, the more you’d appreciate him. And back then they had the really bad turf, and he made it look like the game was... Left, right, very even matchups. I think sometimes, guys like him and (Omar) Vizquel got bored playing defense and kind of invented different looks.
“There are things guys do today that I guarantee they were sitting at home watching Robbie do and said, ‘You know, I want to try that.’ “
Update: Tillman walked Justin Smoak leading off the third and Michael Saunders homered to left field, cutting the Orioles’ lead in half.
Saunders is 3-for-10 with two home runs lifetime against Tillman.
Tillman walked No. 9 hitter Humberto Quintero - because the Orioles can’t figure out how to retire No. 9 hitters - and Kyle Seager with two outs before receiving a visit from pitching coach Rick Adair. Kendrys Morales singled to left field to bring home another run.
Orioles 4, Mariners 3
Tillman issued three walks in each of his last two starts. He walked three batters in the third inning tonight. He’s up to 61 pitches.