ORIOLES QUICK WRAP
Score: Orioles 4, Rays 2
Recap: Chris Tillman retired six of the seven batters he faced and struck out three while focusing mostly on his fastball command. Leadoff hitter Jemile Weeks reached base twice and scored two runs in the first two innings, as the Orioles led from start to finish.
Need to know: Eddie Gamboa struck out two while retiring the side in order in the sixth, and he managed to mix in a low-90s fastball with his low-60s knuckleball.
On deck: Saturday, home vs. Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m. (MASN HD)
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Zach Britton followed Chris Tillman to the mound this afternoon and was charged with one run and three hits over two innings. He also walked a batter and struck out one.
I didn't see every pitch from Britton. I had to rush down to the Orioles clubhouse for the Tillman in-game interview.
The run scored on a Jerry Sands double down the left field line, the ball scooting past Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar as he attempted a back-handed stop.
Britton walked the first batter he faced in the third and also allowed a hit, but he got out of the inning unscathed.
Brad Brach retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth, striking out one, and the Orioles continue to hold a 4-1 lead.
Tillman was satisfied with his first spring start, when he retired six of the seven batters he faced and struck out three.
"It was good," he said. "I think it was more of going out and getting the adrenaline flowing at the beginning and the nerves flowing more than anything else. I felt good about myself. Just wanted to work on fastball command today and for the most part it was good.
"I threw changeups and curveballs. Not as many as I would have, but my goal was to go out there and get the fastball command first. And kind of went off that."
At least Tillman wasn't pitching to his own guys. It felt more like a game.
"I think this early in spring, it doesn't really matter who you face," he said. "It's just going out there and getting the feel again. We face our own hitters the first two weeks and it isn't the same feel, so it was good to get the juices flowing again."
Tillman said he's felt good "for the most part" this spring.
"Other than the first week being sore. Nothing crazy," he said.
Miguel Gonzalez gets Saturday's start against the Blue Jays in Sarasota. Left-hander Brian Matusz is starting Sunday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.
Bud Norris will start Monday's game against the Twins in Sarasota, and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen will start Tuesday night against the Yankees in Tampa.
Update: Mike Belfiore allowed three straight two-out singles in the bottom of the seventh to score a run and reduce the lead to 4-2.
Belfiore is pitching with a tiny fracture on the tip of his left pinky finger.
Gonzalez is 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.