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Tillman sent down; Eyre coming up; who starts Tuesday? (and Dan Klein note)

Tillman sent down; Eyre coming up; who starts Tuesday? (and Dan Klein note)

Chris Tillman fell into the same pattern Thursday that has plagued him in his three seasons in the majors: One real good start followed by a clunker or an early exit.

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The 23-year-old righty, coming off an excellent outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, couldn't get out of the third inning in Thursday night's 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

The first inning was painful to watch: He allowed a single, a homer to Alexei Ramirez, and then three straight doubles before Alex Rios made the game's first out – on Tillman's 20th pitch.

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He ended up giving up six earned runs on eight hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. He has not recorded consecutive quality starts since August 2009, when he put together three straight in his third, fourth and fifth big-league appearances.

The rollercoaster has Tillman frustrated.

"Absolutely. I feel like every other one is a tough one. And having to go to the bullpen in the third, fourth fifth inning, ain't going to cut it," said Tillman (3-5,5.52 ERA) . "No excuses here. I got to get better. That's the bottom line. I know I can pitch here, but what happened tonight wasn't enough."

Tillman was sent to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.

On Friday, the Orioles are expected to call up 33-year-old right-handed reliever Willie Eyre, whom the Orioles signed as a minor-league free agent on Aug. 3. Eyre pitched three games with the Tides, allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He opted out of his minor-league deal with the Oakland A's organization on Aug. 1 after going 4-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 39 games for Sacramento.

With Tillman in the minors, the Orioles will need someone to start against the A's in Oakland on Tuesday. One possibility is Brian Matusz, who threw a complete-game shutout Thursday for Norfolk.

Matusz is 2-3 with a 3.46 ERA in nine starts for Norfolk and has allowed four earned runs in his last 23 innings (1.57 ERA) at Triple-A. That's a huge improvement from his 1-4 record and 8.77 ERA in six starts with the Orioles this season.

Brad Bergesen, who threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Tillman on Thursday, is also likely a candidate for the start.

One other Orioles note: Double-A right-hander Dan Klein, the Orioles' third round selection in 2010, will have his right shoulder examined by Los Angeles Angels team physician and renowned orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum on Monday in California.

Klein hasn't pitched in a game since June 1 because of shoulder pain. He attempted to throw twice this week and again felt the discomfort. He had surgery on the shoulder while he was at UCLA. Between High-A Frederick and Bowie this year, Klein was 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.

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