Tillman on Tillman (O’s tie Rays 4-4)


Score: Orioles 4, Rays 4

Recap: In his last start before opening day, Chris Tillman allowed two runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, with one walk and one strikeout. He threw 79 pitches. Zach Britton had back-to-back outings for the first time this spring and struck out the only batter he faced. The Rays scored once off Darren O’Day in the seventh, the tying run crossing the plate on Adam Jones’ error. The Orioles broke the tie on a Brett Wallace sacrifice fly in the ninth, but the Rays again knotted it in the bottom of the frame. Delmon Young drove in a run on a ground ball in the second and doubled in a run in the fourth. He also made a sliding catch in left to save two runs from scoring off Tommy Hunter. Steve Lombardozzi had an RBI single.

Need to know: Grant Balfour pitched the fifth inning for the Rays and no one was injured. No team doctors were compelled to comment on it. Jonathan Schoop flied out, J.J. Hardy struck out, Jones reached on an infield hit and Nelson Cruz bounced out. Balfour is angry at the Orioles for backing out of their two-year, $15 million deal following his physical, but he didn’t show it tonight beyond mowing them down for an inning.

On deck: Thursday, home vs. Rays, 7:05 p.m.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Delmon Young has knocked in two runs and saved two runs with a sliding catch to end the sixth.

This guy is serious about making the Orioles as a non-roster invitee.

Chris Tillman allowed two runs and nine hits and threw 79 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.

“I would have liked to be better early on, but I was a bit rusty,” he said. “Nine days. But I was able to find it there in the middle and I was happy with that. I was able to make an adjustment and I was able to mix most of my pitches.”

Tillman missed a start with flu-like symptoms, the only real glitch this spring.

“I would have liked to have made that other start, but other than that, I feel comfortable going into the season physically, mechanically and mentally,” he said.

Tillman threw 21 pitches in the first inning and 23 in the fourth. He allowed singles to three of the four batters he faced in the fifth, but overall managed to minimize the damage.

“I think any time you’re able to pitch out of the stretch with runners on base and kind of get a feel for it, it’s good, especially when you make some pitches to get out of the inning,” he said. “I was able to execute a little bit there. I was happy with it.”

Tillman hasn’t thought about his opening day start. The excitement isn’t building.

“No. I’ve been focusing on getting myself ready,” he said. “I think that’s the most important thing. I’m happy coming out of this healthy and I’m ready to go.”

Tillman hasn’t felt any different this spring despite knowing that he’d likely be chosen as opening day starter.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I approach it the same way. I try to approach everything the same way. I’m a big routine guy. I live and die by it, so I stick to my routine and be ready to pitch every fifth day.”

In five spring starts covering 17 1/3 innings, Tillman allowed nine earned runs (11 total) and 23 hits, walked three and struck out 15.

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