BALTIMORE – Chris Tillman rebounded nicely from a disastrous performance last Wednesday in Texas. The problem was the Orioles offense did nothing to help him.
Tillman allowed just one run, but the Orioles had just two hits, and the Boston Red Sox prevailed 1-0 before 24,184 at Oriole Park on Tuesday night.
“Unfortunately, they pitched just a little bit better than we did,” manager Buck Showalter said.
After Tillman had faced four batters, it began raining so hard that time was called. The rain disappeared almost as quickly as it came, and 15 minutes later, play resumed.
Tillman loaded the bases on two walks and a single with two outs before striking out Jonathan Herrera.
In the bottom of the second, after Brandon Workman had retired the first four Orioles, the rain returned and intensified. Play was called, and it wasn’t until 78 minutes, just after nine that the game was able to resume.
Orioles-Red Sox games are usually long and intense. The first two games of the three-game series featured two shutouts and games of 2:21 and 2:32.
There were 10 hits, all singles. It was the first time in a game between these times since Sept. 2, 1974 that there wasn’t an extra-base hit.
The two delays, totaling one hour, 33 minutes made a difficult call for Showalter. The Orioles had Tillman throw some pitches in their facility behind the dugout during the rain delays.
In the top of the third, Mike Napoli’s single scored Brock Holt with the only Boston (29-35) run.
Tillman (5-3) allowed seven hits, but the Red Sox stranded eight runners in six innings. He walked three and struck out three.
It was a much better performance than his last one when for the second time in four starts, he couldn’t get an out in the second inning.
“I was able to execute pitches when I needed to when I got into trouble. Later in the game I was executing most of my pitches. So it was good to see it coming. Especially felt better as I went, so that’s promising,” Tillman said.
He’s never had to endure two rain delays before. Having the practice mound was a big help.
“I wouldn’t say difficult, just different. You’ve got to learn and adjust and that was the first time I’ve done that,” Tillman said. “You kind of just take it like it was another inning.”
The first 13 Orioles (32-31) were retired by Workman (1-0). Nelson Cruz walked with one out in the fifth, but was easily doubled off first when J.J. Hardy popped to second.
Cruz didn’t realize there weren’t two outs when he took off from first.
“I missed the outs. That’s no excuse. I should know better. It shouldn’t have happened,” Cruz said.
Ryan Flaherty’s two-out single in the sixth was the first Orioles hit.
Workman was lifted after 6 2/3 innings. He walked Cruz and struck out three. Andrew Miller came in to strike out Chris Davis for the third time.
The Boston right-hander is facing a six-game suspension for his part in last month’s Red Sox-Rays brawl. Workman will have his appeal heard on Friday. On Tuesday night, it was his curveball that was the key.
“He was able to throw it anytime he wanted to. He had a good cutter. And whatever him and [catcher A.J. Pierzynski] wanted to figure out tonight, they figured out,” Adam Jones said. “He allowed no runs and the first hit wasn’t until the sixth-inning? He threw the hell out of the ball tonight. Now let’s come out tomorrow and get the series.”
Junichi Tazawa pitched a perfect eighth, and Koji Uehara allowed a leadoff single to Steve Pearce before he finished off the Orioles in the ninth for his 13th save.
Manny Machado, who said he would appeal his five-game suspension for his bat throwing incident, was 0-for-3, and is now 0-for-15 after striking out against Uehara for the last out.
NOTES: The Orioles have been shut out five times, four at home. … Nick Markakis’ 14-game hitting streak ended. … The Orioles had won six straight against the AL East, longest since winning seven streak from May 1-12, 2012. … The Orioles turned two double plays. Their 74 double plays lead all major league teams. … Brian Matusz struck out David Ortiz in the eighth inning. He is now 1-for-21 with 13 strikeouts against Matusz. … Nolan Reimold was 1-for-3 at Bowie in his first rehab game of the season. … Wei-Yin Chen (6-2, 4.13) faces Rubby De La Rosa (1-1, 2.84) on Wednesday. All fans will receive an “Orioles Way” T-shirt.