Hardy, Tillman Struggle in Baltimore's 8-6 Loss

The Baltimore Orioles fell 8-6 to the Texas Rangers Thursday night, as Orioles starter Chris Tillman could not get through the 2nd inning in the game. The team’s Opening Day starter gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs in 1+ inning of work. Out of the 11 batters Tillman faced in the game, he allowed 9 runners to reach base.

The Rangers started the scoring in the bottom of the 1st inning, as first baseman Mitch Moreland hit a two-RBI single through the shift to give Texas an early 2-0 lead. Tillman allowed the first four Texas batters of the game to reach base (one walk and three hits). The Orioles starter got out of the inning without further damage due to a strikeout and a double play ball.

Tillman started the 2nd inning just as he began the 1st. The Rangers roughed up the pitcher in the inning, as the potent lineup saw their first five hitters of the inning reach base (this time two walks and three hits). Tillman’s night was over following an Elvis Andrus RBI single to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead. Orioles manager Buck Showalter replaced the starter with reliever Brad Brach.

Baltimore did not however lie down. Nick Markakis pulled a two-run home run into the right field seats (almost mirroring his homer in Wednesday night’s game) to bring the Orioles back into the game in the top of the 3rd inning. Markakis also extended his hitting streak to 10 games with the homer.

The Orioles scored three more runs in the top of the 5th inning to tie up the score at 5-5. Caleb Joseph started the comeback with a leadoff walk in the inning, followed by a Manny Machado flared single down the right field line. The single allowed Joseph to go to third base on the hit. After Nelson Cruz struck out, Adam Jones drilled a two-RBI double to straightaway center field. Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin appeared to make an outstanding diving catch; however, the ball popped out of his glove as he hit the ground. Chris Davis tied the score at 5-5 with an RBI single through the shift and into right field.

Pitcher Brad Brach threw 3 1/3 innings in relief, allowing only two base runners (one hit and one walk). The righty was removed from the game following a one-out walk to Moreland in the bottom of the 5th inning. Ryan Webb entered the game in the 5th inning and quickly got the Orioles out of the frame by inducing an inning-ending double play.

Texas regained the lead in the bottom of the 7th inning, as Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy makes two errors in the frame (Hardy had three errors on the night). Second baseman Rougned Odor reached second base to lead off the bottom of the 7th inning, as he legged out an infield single and advanced to second on the poor throw by Hardy. Odor later scored the go-ahead run in the inning on Hardy’s second error of the inning on a groundball to the shortstop. The normally sure-handed shortstop came into Thursday’s game with only one error all season.  Alex Rios and Chris Gimenez gave the Rangers an 8-5 lead in the game with back-to-back RBI singles in the inning.

Baltimore got one back in the top of the 8th inning, as Jones crushes an opposite-field homer to cut the lead back to 8-6. The home run gave AJ 3 RBIs on the night, and the Orioles center fielder now has 15 hits in his last 11 games played.

Nonetheless, Rangers closer Joakim Soria shuts the door on any Orioles comeback with a one-two-three 9th inning. The loss prevents the Orioles from sweeping the Rangers, and also ends Baltimore’s four-game winning streak.

Next up for the Birds is a three-game set with the West Division leading Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards. Wei-Yin Chen (6-2, 4.26 ERA) will face Oakland’s offense, while Tommy Milone (3-3, 3.60 ERA) will try to contain the hard-hitting Orioles.

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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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