Chris Tillman makes early exit as Astros rout Orioles again

Chris Tillman’s velocity was down early in his outing and his command was off later. It was not a good combination and Tillman lasted just two innings plus four batters tonight as the Astros beat the Orioles 12-2.

After the Orioles beat the Astros 13-5 on Thursday night, they have been outscored 27-10 the past two nights. In losing for the 15th time in the last 24 games, the Orioles fall to 67-55 for the season. They are 3-7 in their past 10 home games.

Orioles utility man Ryan Flaherty pitched the ninth inning. He became the first O’s position player to pitch since Chris Davis on May 6, 2012 at Boston. Flaherty gave up two runs on a Juan Castro homer and Alex Bregman’s RBI double.

Chris Tillman throws white.jpgTillman’s start was pushed back three days to tonight due to shoulder discomfort and the outing did nothing to lower the concern level about the 15-game winner.

Bregman homered two batters into the game for a 2-0 lead and Houston added two more off Tillman in the second. He needed 25 pitches in the first inning and threw 24 more in the second. Tillman’s fastball was sitting mostly at 88 and 89 mph in the opening inning until he touched 92 his last two pitches in the inning. His velocity was better after that inning.

Then in the third Tillman hit a batter and walked three straight and was pulled with no outs in the inning and the Orioles already in a 5-0 hole. Odrisamer Despaigne got a double play on which the sixth run scored, but limited the damage there.

Tillman went two innings-plus, allowing six hits and six runs with five walks and no strikeouts. He falls to 15-5 with an ERA of 3.76. He threw 67 pitches, just 33 for strikes. The six runs allowed and five walks he issued tied season highs for Tillman.

The Orioles scored on another Davis homer. He hit a Mike Fiers pitch out to center field in the fourth for his 29th home run and fifth in the last four games. Davis has homered in four straight games. He is the first Oriole to do that since he homered in a five in a row from June 7-12. Steve Pearce homered in the eighth for the O’s second run.

Earlier, Houston added two more runs in the sixth to lead 10-1. At that point, the Astros had scored in 12 of 15 innings the last two games.

From Aug. 5-11, O’s starting pitchers recorded seven consecutive quality starts with a rotation ERA of 2.93. Since then, the Orioles have gone eight straight games without one and O’s starters have allowed 33 earned runs the last 33 2/3 innings.

The O’s need to win Sunday to split this four-game series when Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 5.18 ERA) pitches against 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel (7-12, 4.76 ERA).

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