Adam Jones battled Tigers starter Justin Verlander in the top of the eighth inning today, fouling off four pitches and taking two out of the strike zone before lifting a sacrifice fly to deep left-center field that broke a 1-1 tie.
Jones drove an 87 mph slider into the gap, where Tyler Collins made a nice running catch.
Jones picked up only his second RBI of the season, scoring Nick Markakis from third base. Markakis delivered his first extra-base hit of the season with a triple to right.
The Orioles have tripled in three consecutive games, their longest streak since 2010, according to the MASN2 broadcast. I won’t bother to look it up.
Chris Tillman has been sensational today. He retired the Tigers in order in the eighth to preserve a 2-1 lead and leave his pitch count at 101.
Tillman has allowed one run and four hits, walked one and struck out five. He’s taking a lot of air out of the rotation’s 7.56 ERA.
Tillman struck out Torii Hunter on three pitches to end the eighth, the last a 94 mph fastball.
David Lough made a sliding catch in left field for the first out in the eighth inning and Markakis made a diving grab in right for the second out.
Do we see Tommy Hunter in the ninth?
Tillman holds himself to a high standard. He retired Austin Jackson on a pop up for the first out in the seventh inning and appeared to yell at himself as the ball drifted toward first base, as if unhappy with the pitch location. Getting the out wasn’t good enough for Tillman.
Instant update: Matt Wieters just led off the top of the ninth with an opposite-field home run off reliever Al Alburquerque, his first of the season, to increase the lead to 3-1.
Wieters homered from the left side of the plate. Guess he’s not ready to give up switch-hitting.
And Ryan Flaherty was 0-for-17 before singling in the ninth. The monkey is off his back.
Flaherty also started out 0-for-17 last season.
Update II: Tillman tied his career high with 8 1/3 innings. He left the game after Victor Martinez doubled with one out in the ninth on his 113th pitch.
Tillman has the Orioles’ last complete game, but it was eight innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on Sept. 14, 2013.
Update III: Hunter struck out Jackson and retired Collins on a bouncer to second. Game over. Orioles win 3-1 and Hunter picks up his second save.
Feel any better?