Tillman wipes slate clean with strong outing

Righty delivers six innings of two-hit, one-run ball in first start since June 30

July 18th, 2017

BALTIMORE -- This is the Chris Tillman the Orioles have been waiting for.
The righty -- who entered the game with a 7.90 season ERA -- turned in one of his best outings of the season on Monday night at Camden Yards, tossing six innings and holding the Rangers to one run in the Orioles' 3-1 win.
"Getting to the sixth," Tillman said of what made this outing stand out for him. "Making pitches when I had to. You know, results are what everyone is worried about. But there's a process to it. And I think that is the most important thing."
Monday's start was encouraging on many fronts for the 29-year-old Tillman, who missed the first month of the season with a shoulder injury and recorded just his third quality start in 12 tries.

His velocity was better. He used his fastball more. And he worked with a quick, confident tempo that allowed him to hold the Rangers to just two hits, a season best for Tillman.
"Velocity was good. Think he had more pitches working for him in the repertoire, a sharper slider," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Obviously had a lot of rest. That's tough, managing that. Almost took him out after five, really wanted to come out with some positive feelings about it. ... But hopefully he and the rest of his staff can build on that, that's the type of outing we are going to need."
Making his first start since June 30, as he was placed on the paternity list prior to the All-Star break, Tillman had three workdays in between starts. That made him feel a little rusty, but the righty credited catcher with helping to keep him on track with a steady diet of fastballs.
"[There] was a point [earlier in the season] where I was falling behind and kind of cheating to get back in the count with something else, where, that's not who I am and who I want to be," said Tillman, who allowed 43 earned runs over 49 innings in the first half.
"I've made an effort to do better with the fastball and I feel like we're coming along nicely."
Getting Tillman, who went 16-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 30 starts in 2016, would be huge for an Orioles rotation that saw the ERA of its starters climb over 6 after Sunday's loss. Monday's outing ended Baltimore's streak of 10 consecutive games without a quality outing.
"There's a lot of pieces, but we know that's been a challenge for us comparatively-speaking to the rest of the league," Showalter said. "And we know that's got to get better."