Tillman on his debut
Top pitching prospect Chris Tillman, who was officially recalled following Friday’s game, made his season and tossed 5 2/3 innings in the Orioles 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays, yielding only a pair of homers.
The 22-year-old Tillman allowed a double to the first batter he faced but responded by striking out the side, ending with a 10-pitch ‘K’ of cleanup batter Vernon Wells, who saw a steady diet of low 90s fastballs.
“I thought that double was a pretty good pitch, you know?,” Tillman said. “They just came out swinging. I wasn’t too disappointed with the pitch, obviously with the result. Like I said, [catcher Craig Tatum] took control there and I just stuck with him and we were pretty much on the same page for the most part.”
“His fastball was sneaky at times,” Wells said of Tillman. “I think he’s another guy that’s still kind of learning at this level. He’s got good enough stuff to be a really good one, especially in this division.”
Tillman -who was sent to Triple-A to work on his fastball command and cutter – showed signs of improvement but was also mistake prone, running up a high-pitch count early and often falling behind batters.
“I missed with two pitches and they took advantage of it,” he said. “I didn’t throw a cutter today wasn’t too comfortable with it in the bullpen so I tried to stay away from that. Threw a couple change ups, one missed up, [I] would have liked to mix in a few more and get them off that fastball a little bit.”
Tillman allowed a two-out homer to Lyle Overbay and didn’t allow another Toronto score until Aaron Hill went yard to open the sixth. The Blue Jays entered Saturday’s game leading the American League-leading in homers and Overbay’s second blast -off reliever Alberto Castillo — was the club’s 50th long ball of the month, setting a new franchise record.
Following Hill’s homer, Tillman erased Adam Lind’s ensuing single with a double-play ball but was lifted followed Jose Bautista’s double down the right field line. He threw 96 pitches (60 strikes) in the debut no-decision.
“I thought it was OK,” said Tillman when asked to evaluate his performance as a whole. “Didn’t think it was great, didn’t think it was bad.”