Chris Tillman had allowed two earned runs or less in five of his first six Orioles starts this year. But tonight, the Royals got six runs and six hits off him over 5 2/3 innings in a 7-3 Kansas City victory at Camden Yards.
“Not a very good night for me. A frustrating night. I was working up in the zone and didn’t have my breaking ball going for the whole game. I wish I would have pitched better,” Tillman said after his 109-pitch outing.
“It was a battle. I fell behind (in the count) quite a bit tonight and it’s tough pitching behind in the count, no matter how good your stuff is. I kept going to it (my breaking ball), but it just wasn’t there for me tonight.”
Tillman allowed three homers, which tied his career high, accomplished three times previously. He gave up two homers to leadoff hitter Alex Gordon.
“You have to give some credit there,” he said. “Leadoff hitter there (Gordon), I was trying to go away and made a pitch and he put a good swing on it. Their catcher (Salvador Perez) is swinging the bat well right now. I tried to go in and he put a good swing on it. (Billy) Butler, I fell behind and left the ball up and that didn’t work out too well.”
Tillman last gave up three homers on Sept. 24, 2010. He had given up just two homers over six starts and 34 innings this season before tonight.
Was it challenging to pitch after a 3-hour, 9-minute rain delay?
“It’s more of a mental battle. I went through my routine twice,” he said. “I got it going again and it just didn’t work out for me tonight.”
A reporter asked Tillman if he had any hamstring issues, as he was seen grabbing at his leg a few times. He said it was not a big issue.
“I wasn’t hurting. I cramped up a couple of times. Not ideal conditions, but they played on the same field,” Tillman said as his record fell to 5-2 and his ERA jumped to 3.40.
Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth gave some credit to K.C. starter Luis Mendoza, who took a shutout to the last of the seventh and gave up three runs in six-plus innings.
“He pitched well,” McLouth said. “He commanded his fastball pretty good and got ahead and didn’t walk a lot of guys. He has good stuff and pitched well tonight. We had a few opportunities in two-out situations but we have to come back and get them tomorrow.”