Tillman strong in O's victory over Twins
Righty allows just one run on four hits over 3 1/3 innings
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Thanks in large part to the starting pitching of the Orioles' Chris Tillman and Nick Blackburn of the Twins, runs were hard to come by for most of Friday's game at Hammond Stadium.
But the Orioles broke open a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning on Scott Beerer's two-run single to give Baltimore a 3-1 victory over a split-squad Twins team.
Tillman went 3 1/3 innings for the Orioles, allowing one run on four hits. Though he walked two and had to deal with a fair share of baserunners -- catcher John Hester threw out two would-be basestealers in the third -- Tillman was fairly pleased with the progress he showed.
"Minus the fourth inning," Tillman said. "You never like giving up a run, but it's going well. I think I've made some mechanical adjustments. I'm excited about it. I'm able to make the adjustments quick and see exactly what I'm doing wrong and then go from there."
Blackburn was even sharper, allowing just one hit over four scoreless innings. He's now gone seven innings over two official outings this spring without allowing a run. He came away very pleased with his command and ability to move the ball in and out.
"Today was definitely better than my last time out," Blackburn said. "Everything felt strong. I felt it was coming out of my hand pretty well. I think me and [catcher] Rene [Rivera] had guys guessing pretty well today. We moved it around a lot."
The victory improved Baltimore's Grapefruit League record to 5-6 while the Twins dropped under .500 (7-8), pending the outcome of Friday night's other split-squad game against the Red Sox.
The Twins scratched out the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. First baseman Chris Parmelee led off the inning with a single and moved up one station on Ryan Doumit's base hit. Rene Tosoni's grounder to first forced Doumit at second and moved Parmelee to third.
Luke Hughes hit what could have been an inning-ending double play to third, but Orioles second baseman Robert Andino dropped the exchange after forcing Hughes. That miscue allowed Parmelee to score.
The Orioles were able to tie it up with Blackburn out of the game. Andino led off the sixth with a home run off of Carlos Gutierrez. That set the stage for Beerer's big hit. Twins reliever Jared Burton loaded the bases and Beerer laced a single to left field that allowed Steve Tolleson to score. When left fielder Wilkin Ramirez misplayed the base hit, Matt Antonelli came home as well to give the Orioles a two-run cushion.
Up next: The Orioles have home-and-away split-squad games with the Red Sox on Saturday. Nick Markakis returns the lineup for his second Grapefruit League contest. He played on Wednesday, his first action since offseason abdominal surgery. The game in Sarasota, Fla., begins at 1:05 p.m. ET, while the contest in Fort Myers starts at 1:35 p.m. ET.