Adam Jones would not characterize it as frustrating, but the Orioles left their series with Toronto right where they started it. They split the four games and are 4 1/2 games back of the first-place Blue Jays.
“Not frustrating,” Jones said. “They’re a good team, man. We could have got swept. We could have swept them. Look at the bright side, we got two out of four. Now let’s go on the road and start the series off right tomorrow in Tampa.
“It’s not a missed opportunity. Because we are going to see these guys I think nine or 10 more times. It’s not a missed opportunity. We will have a chance again at all the guys in our division.
“Today was a game we needed. But tip your cap to (J.A.) Happ. They got some early runs. It’s the game of baseball. Can’t dwell on things. If put in the situation, try and succeed. If not, wait for another opportunity.”
But after getting seven straight quality starts, the Orioles went just 4-3 in those games, scoring zero, zero and two in the three losses.
Today, Happ, who had an ERA of 6.11 over his last three starts, held the Orioles to a run on six hits over seven innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his career against the Orioles.
“There were balls hit hard, right at guys,” Jones said. “You throw strikes, good things happen. You walk guys bad things happen. That’s the game.”
Chris Tillman gave up three runs in the first five innings, but he never allowed the big inning and produced the rotation’s seventh consecutive quality start with a seven-inning outing. He permitted eight hits and the three runs.
“Better,” Tillman said of his 92-pitch outing. “Not good enough, but I was able to make some pitches and command the fastball later in the game. Made some good pitches with my off-speed stuff.”
Tillman could not explain a start where he had no strikeouts or walks. This was just the sixth such outing of seven or more innings where that has happened in club history.
“I got nothing. Trying to keep these guys off base as much as possible. If that’s the way it’s going to be, I’ll take it,” he said.
Tillman was asked about the series split.
“It was a good series,” he said. “We wanted to come out on top, but we split and it is what it is. Come back better next time.”
After going through a four-start stretch where he gave up 20 earned runs over 14 1/3 innings, Tillman has now recorded back-to-back quality starts, giving up four runs over 13 innings against the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Is this a step forward for him?
“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re getting somewhere. Starting to feel like my old self. Making better pitches and feeling confident in the ability to make a pitch. Command the strike zone, that’s big. Made some big pitches at times, but also left some balls up.”