Chris Tillman took the ball in the first inning and control of this game not long after.
The right-hander retired 14 in a row before giving up a leadoff homer in the eighth. He left to a big ovation after that as he pitched the Orioles to a 4-2 win over New York tonight in the series opener before 17,456 at Camden Yards.
Now 16-5 with an ERA of 3.66, Tillman gave up just four hits over seven innings-plus with no walks. His nine strikeouts tied his career high and he threw 110 pitches, 78 for strikes.
Tillman is the first Orioles 16-game winner since Mike Mussina won 18 in 1999. He is the 24th Oriole to record a 16-win season. Tillman won a total of 16 games over 51 starts his first four seasons in the majors and has 16 wins in 29 starts in 2013.
Tillman entered this start with a record of 3-4 with an ERA of 7.43 in nine career starts against New York. Tonight he shut down a Yankees team that had scored 50 runs the last seven games.
The game got even a little more interesting when Buck Showalter charged out of the Orioles dugout after the last of the first screaming something toward the Yankees dugout and it looked like he and Joe Girardi exchanged several words as the umpiries tried to keep them apart.
A year and a day to the game when Nick Markakis was hit by a CC Sabathia pitch that ended his 2012 season, he went 3-for-4 tonight against the left-hander. The O’s tied the game 1-1 in the first on Adam Jones sac fly and made it 3-1 in the fifth on a Matt Wieters sac fly and Markakis’ two-out single.
Sabathia took the loss to fall to 0-4 with an ERA of 5.54 in six starts the last two seasons at Camden Yards.
The Orioles improved to 9-7 against the Yankees this season and just one more win in this four-game series would give them their first season series victory over New York since 1997. They are 6-1 at home in 2013 vs. the Yankees with six consecutive wins.
The Orioles are 77-66 on the season with 19 games left and have won four of the last five and six of their last nine.