BOSTON - The first four hits off Orioles starter Chris Tillman went for extra bases tonight, and the game had only progressed to the bottom of the second inning.
One out in the bottom of the second inning.
Tillman is off his game, and the Orioles trail the Red Sox 3-0 in the top of the third.
Tillman has thrown 53 pitches. He received one visit from pitching coach Bill Castro. No one is warming in the bullpen.
Dustin Pedroia led off the first with a double and David Ortiz walked with one out, but the Red Sox couldn’t score. Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the second with a double - making him 2-for-17 against Tillman - and he jogged home on Stephen Drew’s two-run shot.
Drew was batting .225 in September before the home run.
Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a double, and he scored on Pedroia’s one-out single. Daniel Nava walked, but Tillman struck out Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
Napoli has fanned twice in two innings.
Tillman is coming off his first career complete game, when he allowed four runs in eight innings in Toronto. How far can he go tonight?
Boston starter John Lackey retired the first eight Orioles before walking Brian Roberts with two outs in the third inning. He hasn’t surrendered a hit.
In the 12th inning of last night’s game, manager Buck Showalter chose Steve Pearce over Michael Morse as a pinch-hitter against left-hander Franklin Morales. Pearce just came off the disabled list. Morse is 3-for-24 with the Orioles and battling a 6-for-58 slump, including his final 34 at-bats with the Mariners.
So, should we read anything into it?
“Match up a little bit,” Showalter said. “Could have gone either way. Might be different tonight, depending on which left-hander it is.
“Stevie, one of the reasons why we made his addition, he’s a little more experienced at pinch-hitting. He’s had some contributions in this ballpark. Just a feel thing. Could be different tonight. I thought it was a good matchup with Morales. I think so did their manager.”
That’s because John Farrell ordered an intentional walk to Pearce, who hadn’t faced Morales before last night. Morse was 0-for-1.
Update: Tillman has retired 14 of the last 16 batters. He’s up to 100 pitches.
Lackey was no-hitting the Orioles until the seventh inning, when Adam Jones homered over the Green Monster with one out to reduce Boston’s lead to 3-1.
Jones has 32 homers, tying his career high, and 103 RBIs.
Lackey had allowed two baserunners in six innings, on walks to Brian Roberts in the third and McLouth in the sixth. That was it.
The Orioles were last no-hit by Boston’s Clay Buchholz on Sept. 1, 2007 at Fenway Park.
Update II: Tillman retired 17 of the last 19 batters. He allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, with two walks, eight strikeouts and one home run. He threw 109 pitches, 75 for strikes.
J.J. Hardy singled off Lackey in the eighth inning for the Orioles’ second hit. They’re still down 3-1 as we head to the ninth.
Update III: Game over. The Orioles are held to two hits and lose 3-1, with Lackey going the distance.
Nineteen of the Orioles’ last 25 games have been decided by two runs or fewer. They’re now 20-10 in two-run games this season.