SARASOTA, FLA. — Right-hander Chris Tillman was the last Orioles starting pitcher to make his spring debut, and was sharp in his first Grapefruit League outing on Monday afternoon.
Tillman allowed just one hit over two scoreless innings as the Orioles lost, 1-0, to the Philadelphia Phillies at Ed Smith Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 7,639, the Orioles' third sellout of spring training.
"I'm pleased," Tillman said. "It went well. It was fun to get out there. It gave me a chance to finally see some hitters. It was fun. Got to throw all my pitches. I got out of it what I needed. … I don't like sitting there. Threw enough bullpens, so I was ready. Like I said, it was fun just getting back out there, get in that atmosphere again, get the blood going a little bit."
The Orioles are 2-6 in Grapefruit League play and five of their six losses have been by one run, including each of the last four games.
Their best scoring opportunity came in the seventh, when Caleb Joseph singled and Everth Cabrera drew a walk to lead off the inning.
But Jimmy Paredes struck out and David Lough flied out to center. After Chris Davis was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Matt Tuiasosopo popped up to first in foul ground to end the inning.
Tillman issued a walk to Phillies leadoff man Odubel Herrera on a 10-pitch at-bat to open the game, but then retired six of the next seven batters he faced. Ryan Howard's two-out single in the first was the only hit Tillman allowed.
Left-hander Brian Matusz allowed a solo homer to Andres Blanco in the fifth inning for the game's only run.
Matusz was beginning his third inning when Blanco homered to left field. Matusz recorded four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings, striking out the side in the fourth inning.
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Despite throwing 10 pitches to the first batter of the game, Tillman needed just 32 pitches (21 strikes) to get through two innings. He then went to the bullpen to throw more pitches and simulate going in for a third inning.
"Ninety percent of it was fastball command, I think, but I threw 90 percent fastballs, I would say," said Tillman, whose fastball sat at 94-to-96 mph. "I was able to mix in some, but then I came down and got up a third time in the bullpen and threw most of my pitches. I got done what I needed from it.
"Just a feel," Tillman said about what he wanted to accomplish in his first outing. "For me, I'm a big feel pitcher. I wanted to get a feel for pretty much all my pitches, I think. Early on, I was a little excited, but really made an adjustment and got back on. Threw some good changeups, some good curveballs, fastball location was good for the most part. I'm happy with it."
Closer Zach Britton tossed a scoreless sixth inning, overcoming a leadoff hit batter and single by Howard with a 6-4-3 double play ball off the bat of Jeff Francoeur and a ground out to short by former Oriole Russ Canzler.
Around the horn
Monday's game was played before an announced 7,639, the Orioles' third home sellout of spring training. … Chris Davis made his first spring start in right field Monday, and Steve Pearce started at first base for the first time this spring. "You'll probably see it again," Showalter said. "You never know what you might end up doing over the course of a season. I'm not saying you're going to see more of it or less of it. We're trying to present as many looks as we can to keep our options open." ... Right-hander Kevin Gausman will follow lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen in Tuesday afternoon's home Grapefruit League game against the New York Yankees.