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Tillman makes strides; O's offense goes quiet

Sisco rises to the challenge, throws out 3 baserunners
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- Momentum, the old baseball adage goes, is only as good as tomorrow's starter.

And while Orioles righty Chris Tillman did show signs of improvement on Saturday -- pitching his best game in four starts this year -- it wasn't enough to finally secure Baltimore (6-15) a win streak. Instead the O's, fresh off snapping a six-game skid with Friday's win, sputtered at any chance of building momentum with a 4-0 shutout loss to Cleveland. The defeat -- their ninth in 11 games-- highlighted the Orioles' offensive struggles as Tribe righty Mike Clevinger tossed his first career complete game and allowed just two singles.

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BALTIMORE -- Momentum, the old baseball adage goes, is only as good as tomorrow's starter.

And while Orioles righty Chris Tillman did show signs of improvement on Saturday -- pitching his best game in four starts this year -- it wasn't enough to finally secure Baltimore (6-15) a win streak. Instead the O's, fresh off snapping a six-game skid with Friday's win, sputtered at any chance of building momentum with a 4-0 shutout loss to Cleveland. The defeat -- their ninth in 11 games-- highlighted the Orioles' offensive struggles as Tribe righty Mike Clevinger tossed his first career complete game and allowed just two singles.

View Full Game Coverage

"There were a couple pitches he'd probably like to have back," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Tillman, who allowed three homers over six innings. "Got out of that first inning, but we just didn't do much. The story was their pitcher and our inability to solve much off him."

Video: CLE@BAL: Tillman fans Gomes to complete his outing

Tillman (0-4), who is off to the worst start of his career with four straight losses, showed progress in the season-high six-inning outing. The righty struck out five and allowed eight hits and a walk, working his way out of a potentially damaging first inning. Tillman allowed just one run on a single, walk and wild pitch and held the Tribe there until Yan Gomes' solo shot in the top of the fourth.

"Command with all the pitches really," Tillman said of the biggest stride made in Saturday's start. "I was able to use both sides of the plate with the fastball, and I think that's all a big help. My offspeed was there for the most part."

The Indians added two more in Tillman's final frame, with Jose Ramirez sending a 3-1 pitch into the right-field flag court and Yonder Alonso blasting a 3-1 offering out onto Eutaw Street.

Video: CLE@BAL: Showalter on Tillman's start, 4-0 loss

Baltimore's offense, which didn't record its first hit until Manny Machado's leadoff single in the fourth, struggled to do anything against Clevinger. The Orioles' best chance to score came in that fourth, as they put runners on the corners with one out thanks to Francisco Lindor's error. But Clevinger retired Tim Beckham on a shallow fly and got Anthony Santander to ground out to quash the threat.

"He's a lot like Trevor Bauer," Showalter said of Clevinger. "They've got great selling arm speed on their breaking ball. Out of the same slot, same delivery. And didn't walk people much. It's a good combination. He's got a lot of life on his fastball."

Clevinger's gem marked the second complete game thrown against the Orioles this season. In the team's first 21 games, they've been held to three runs or fewer 14 times, nine of which were two or fewer.

"Yes [it was disappointing] because we didn't win, but their guy threw the ball really well," Tillman said. "He was four runs better than me today -- four pitches better than me. I think, you show up tomorrow and play another one. That guy threw the heck out of the ball. We've got to move on to tomorrow."

O's rookie Tanner Scott pitched two scoreless innings after Tillman, holding the Indians to one hit.

SOUND SMART
Orioles rookie Chance Sisco threw out three baserunners on Saturday, becoming the first O's backstop to do so since Matt Wieters on Aug. 25, 2012, against Toronto.

"I'm just trying to get it out as quick as I can, get the ball on its way," Sisco said. "A lot of credit goes to [bench coach John Russell] and Caleb Joseph for helping me out tremendously. But, it's still super early. I'm just trying to keep building momentum on the last few games that I've caught, and yeah, just try to build momentum. It's kind of a feeling thing. There's a lot of mechanics that do go into it, but once you do start feeling comfortable with those mechanics, it's a confidence boost."

Video: CLE@BAL: Sisco cuts down Brantley attempting to steal

HE SAID IT
"You get a young catcher like that and they're going to test him. You can see they're going to keep pushing. They'll do it again tomorrow. Hopefully, he'll keep throwing them out if he's playing." -- Showalter, on Sisco

UP NEXT
The Orioles will send righty Andrew Cashner to the hill opposite Corey Kluber for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game. Cashner has thrown three straight quality starts, but he has just one win to show for those efforts. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA in two career outings vs. the Indians.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Chance Sisco, Chris Tillman