FORT MYERS, Fla. – The pitching line wasn't pristine, but right-hander Chris Tillman seemed satisfied with his second start of the Grapefruit League exhibition season.
The Minnesota Twins scored three runs in the second inning with the help of a three-base outfield error, but the Orioles answered with five runs in the top of the third on the way to a 11-5 victory on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.
Tillman was charged with just one earned run, since Xavier Paul dropped a high fly ball in right field to allow Josh Willingham to reach third with no outs, but he did surrender four hits before working out of the inning. He returned to face one batter in the third before giving way to reliever Eddie Gamboa.
“I actually felt probably better today, mechanically, than I did the other day,’’ said Tillman, who gave up just a hit and struck out three in his two-inning exhibition debut on Friday. “It’s just a matter of getting back out there. I think pitch execution was good for the most part. There were two or three that got to me but other than that I was happy with the way my stuff was.”
Left-hander Zach Britton came on in the fourth and pitched two scoreless innings, but left the mound in some pain after taking a sharp comebacker off the heel of his glove hand.
Manager Buck Showalter said that Britton appeared to be OK and there are no plans for him to undergo any x-rays on his hand.
“I don’t think so,’’ Showalter said. “Richie (head athletic trainer Richie Bancells) said he thought it was fine.”
The Orioles offense quickly took over the game, led by reserve catcher candidate Johnny Monell, who capped the five-run rally in the third with a long three run homer to right. He would hit safely in all three of hits at-bats and contribute an RBI single to the Orioles’ second five-run rally in the sixth. Center fielder Quintin Berry and shortstop Alex Gonzalez also delivered multi-hit performances.
The new video replay rules were in effect for the game, but the test run didn’t accomplish a whole lot, since there were no disputed calls – at least none that the limited camera array at Hammond Stadium was able to pick up.
Following back-to-back night games 147 miles apart (Tampa and Fort Myers), the Orioles will be back at Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday for an afternoon game against the Tampa Bay Rays that features Rays ace David Price and O’s right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.