Tillman left game with back tightness

Manager Buck Showalter used six relievers tonight. That’s a lot of baton passing.

Kevin Gregg finally dropped it at the end, walking two batters and surrendering Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run double.

Oriole relievers allowed five earned runs (eight total) and 10 hits, with four walks, in 3 1/3 innings.

So why did Showalter remove starter Chris Tillman after five innings and 88 pitches?

It’s always a good idea to wait for the explanation instead of immediately ripping a decision.

Showalter told MASN’s Gary Thorne that Tillman woke up this morning with stiffness in his back. He received treatment from head athletic trainer Richie Bancells after arriving at Fenway Park, but the back apparently tightened again in the fifth.

“That last inning it grabbed on him a couple times,” Showalter said.

“He gave us a good chance to win. We just couldn’t pitch those last four innings.”

First baseman Derrek Lee felt a twinge in his left oblique while running to first base. Showalter removed him as a precaution in the third inning.

“We’ll see where we are tomorrow,” Showalter said. “We’ve had enough experience with them, haven’t we?”

Unfortunately for the Orioles, they’ll still be in Boston tomorrow.

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