The sight of starting pitcher Chris Tillman back on the mound to open the sixth inning Thursday was a welcome one for the Orioles, who through their first eight games had seen just one starting pitcher make it past the fifth inning.
Tillman had cruised to that point, scattering four hits and coming to the mound with a two-run lead. By the time the book was closed on him that inning, the Orioles were trailing by the eventual final score, 6-3, in the series opener against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.
"He's been good. He could have continued. It's just unfortunate the game just dictated that he was done," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He had as good a chance to win. It's pretty easy not to overthink that. It was just one of those nights where he didn't get the breaks he deserved."
Rangers rookie right fielder Nomar Mazara doubled to open that sixth inning, then with one out recorded, four straight Rangers had hits off Tillman to erase their deficit and create a 5-3 Rangers lead. Second baseman Rougned Odor ended Tillman's evening with a two-run double to left field.
"I feel like I had the stuff to get deep in that game, and contact-wise, I feel like it was a lot of soft contact to get deep in the game," Tillman said. "Unfortunately, stuff happened there in that last inning. A bad pitch here, a bad pitch there, the game completely changed. I feel like all the momentum was on our side. It just kind of got away from us there."
In the preceding half-inning, the Orioles chased Rangers starter Cole Hamels and finished with a 3-1 lead. Hamels walked first baseman Chris Davis to lead off the inning, then allowed a double to catcher Matt Wieters and a run-scoring single to shortstop J.J. Hardy.
After Hamels left, however, second baseman Jonathan Schoop stranded Wieters at third base when he grounded into a double play.
Trumbo homers again
Serving as the designated hitter for the first time this season, Mark Trumbo launched his third home run of the season in the third inning off Hamels. He sent a high fastball into the Rangers' bullpen in right-center field.