Chris Tillman made history Sunday, even if he didn't realize it.
Against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles right-hander allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings, becoming the fifth pitcher in club history to go that deep into a game without recording a walk or a strikeout.
He joined Jimmy Key (1997), Rudy May (1977), Jack Fisher (1961) and Jeff Ballard, who did it twice in 1989, as the only Orioles who have done that.
“I got nothing. I’m trying to make these guys put the ball in play as soon as possible,” Tillman said. “If that’s what it’s going to be, that’s fine. I’ll take it.”
The result was a messy, if not efficient, outing. The Blue Jays hit the ball well, but Tillman cobbled together the rotation’s seventh consecutive quality start, despite managing only a pair of perfect innings.
“I was able to make some pitches [and] command the fastball a little bit later in the game,” he said. “It was good, but not good enough.”
Three batters into the game, Tillman allowed the first run on a double by Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. The leadoff hitters in the fourth and fifth inningss reached base and also came around to score, but Tillman kept the damage to a minimum each time.
Tillman threw just 92 pitches (64 strikes) in the loss and capped off his outing in the same manner that he ended three of the previous innings -- by getting a groundout to strand a runner.
“I thought he presented himself well and had given us everything he could give us to that point,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
While the club’s rotation has contributed quality appearances for seven straight games, the offense has averaged just 2.71 runs in that span. Tillman has a 2.77 ERA in his last two appearances, but he suffered the loss in each game.
And the club couldn’t capitalize on Tillman’s performance Sunday, leaving seven runners on base throughout the afternoon.
“We just needed to do a better job behind him,” Showalter said. “We just didn’t score enough runs.”