Chris Tillman comes up big in his return to the majors

Well, that was impressive.

As the Orioles search for some consistent starting pitching, Chris Tillman, at least for one afternoon, presented a very strong case for himself.

In his first major league start of the season and his first since last Aug. 11, Tillman pitched the Orioles to a 4-2 win this afternoon at SafeCo Field.

Tillman threw a career-high 8 1/3 innings allowing two runs, both unearned. He walked two and fanned seven. He left after a one-out double by John Jaso put runners on second and third in the ninth. Both runners would score on Jim Johnson after Tillman left the game to deny the Orioles a shutout.

Tillman threw 125 pitches and used a mid 90s fastball and good command all day to dominate the Mariners. He recorded a strikeout in the ninth on a 96 mph heater.

Seattle was just 2-for-29 at-bat against Tillman this afternoon.

With the win, the Orioles hit the season’s halfway point of 81 games with a 44-37 record. They have back-to-back victories for the first time since June 16-17 at Atlanta.

Tillman joined the Orioles after pitching well in recent outings at Triple-A Norfolk, where he was 8-8 with a 3.63 ERA. But, over his last 11 starts, his ERA was 2.89 and it was 1.06 over his past three outings for the Tides.

Tillman entered this outing with a career big league mark of 7-15 and ERA of 5.58 over 36 starts. This was his first win since last Aug. 6 against Toronto. Tillman improves to 2-0 in two career starts against a Seattle team that drafted him in Round 2 in 2006.

Adam Jones gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with a solo homer leading off the second inning. For Jones, who had just four RBIs over his previous 19 games, it was his 20th on the year.

The Orioles increased their lead to 3-0 in the third on a J.J. Hardy RBI groundout and Chris Davis RBI single. Robert Andino’s single scored Mark Reynolds, who doubled in the fifth, to make it a 4-0 O’s lead.

The Orioles won the last two games in Seattle to take this series and they improve to 16-10-1 in series this year, matching the number of series wins they had all of last season.

Now it’s on to Los Angeles for a four-game series with an Angels team that swept a two-game series by a combined score of 20-4 last week at Camden Yards.

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