Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Tillman cuts Sox; Orioles need no magic
By ESPN Stats & Information
The Baltimore Orioles this season have been known for their “magical” record in one-run games –- a .800 winning percentage that would rank as the best all-time. But Tuesday night they posted a rare blowout win, beating the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox 6-0 at Camden Yards.
Chris Tillman was brilliant for the home team, pitching one of the best games of his young career with 7⅓ scoreless innings and just one hit allowed. It was the first time he went at least seven innings and didn’t allow a run in his 46 career starts.
Tillman had great command of his fastball and cutter Tuesday night. Those pitches netted him 14 outs, including three of his five strikeouts. He threw a season-high 61 percent of his fastballs and cutters in the strike zone, with 71 percent of them going for strikes.
Prior to this start, Tillman's fastball/cutter combination had been a liability for him. Opponents had hit .345 with seven homers in at-bats ending in those pitches in his first nine outings of the season.
His 1.051 OPS allowed on fastballs and cutters before Tuesday was the third-highest in the majors entering the games of August 28.
He held the White Sox left-handed batters hitless in eight at-bats thanks to an efficient changeup. He threw just seven of those pitches to lefties, but those seven changeups got him three of those eight lefty outs.
Not only did he allow a mere infield single among the 26 batters faced, but Tillman gave up just one line drive or a "well-hit" ball during his outing, as judged by scouting service Inside Edge. He had allowed an average of nearly six hard-hit balls over his previous five starts.
Tillman's gem on Tuesday continues a run of great pitching by the Orioles starters during the team's four-game win streak. They have thrown at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs in each game, posting a 1.75 ERA in this span. Before this four-game stretch, the Orioles starters had compiled an ERA close to five in their first 20 games of August.
Brian Matusz finished off the shutout, allowing just one hit in two innings. With only two hits allowed in the entire game, this was a rare win for the Orioles. It is the fewest hits the Orioles have allowed to the White Sox in a game played in Baltimore since May 5, 1976, when Jim Palmer beat Rich Gossage and the White Sox, 2-0.