"A little reminder, Chris was one of the best pitchers last year in the American League," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Tillman, who pitched to a 5.40 ERA in the first half. "It's one of the best offensive teams in the league, maybe in baseball. So that makes it doubly impressive."
Tillman allowed just a leadoff single to Ian Kinsler, on the first pitch of a fantastic 105-pitch outing. The righty retired 23 consecutive hitters after a one-out first-inning walk to Victor Martinez and kept the Tigers in fits for most of the evening.
"Getting closer. That's one, I got a lot more to go," Tillman said of turning around his season. "And I've got to do it consistently to get back to where I was last year and the year before. I was happy with it, but we got to do it again."
Tillman struck out eight, one shy of his career high, in the dominant outing. It marked the fourth time in his career he's allowed just one hit in six or more innings and the first time since holding Boston to one hit over eight innings on Sept. 28, 2012.
"It's good. It's a process though," Tillman said. "I think we have to keep working. It was good to have stuff to go deep in the game. It's been there the last three, four or five times, but the hitters didn't cooperate."
At 82 pitches through seven innings, Tillman recorded an out in the eighth for the first time this season when he got Alex Avila to ground out. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a leaping grab to retire James McCann and help Tillman exit his outing on a high note.