5/17/2014 7:30 P.M. ET
Clevenger enjoys prime seat for Tillman's gem
Orioles catcher also delivers key RBI to aid right-hander's first shutout
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- The box score shows that Orioles catcher Steve Clevenger had an 0-for-4 night in Friday's 4-0 win over the Royals. But looking beyond those numbers, it was still an extremely satisfying night for Clevenger because he caught Chris Tillman's first career shutout.
Clevenger was on the same page with Tillman all night and guided the right-hander through his 117-pitch effort in which Tillman surrendered five hits and one walk.
"He was in and out, working both sides of the plate," Clevenger said. "If you are in the zone like that with all your pitches, you are going to be successful. Chris mixed his pitches extremely well."
On a chilly 55-degree evening, Clevenger liked the tempo that Tillman had on the mound. The game lasted just 2 hours, 22 minutes.
"He gets the ball and he's ready to go," Clevenger said.
Clevenger also had an important RBI that helped Tillman along. With the Orioles leading 1-0, there were runners at first and third in the fourth inning when Clevenger sent a bouncer to second. Clevenger got a good break from the batter's box and beat the relay throw to first, preventing an inning-ending double play and driving in a run.
"I think it was a big momentum swing," Clevenger said. "It gave us the second run and a little cushion so Tilly could do some work. I just try to hustle."
Clevenger was out of the lineup on Saturday as Caleb Joseph drew a start behind the plate.
Russell skippers O's with Showalter on leave
KANSAS CITY -- John Russell was the man in charge on Saturday night.
With manager Buck Showalter attending the law school graduation of daughter Allie in Dallas, it was Russell -- the Orioles' normal bench coach -- who ascended to the acting managerial role. The night was all the more special for Russell because his father, Jack, lives in Kansas City.
"My father was such a big part of my baseball life," Russell said. "He helped me with a lot of things when I was young, from Little League on through college and even when I signed [a pro contract]. He always comes out when we're here.
"We had breakfast this morning and he asked me about managing tonight. I said, 'Well, I guess you could call it that. I'm filling in.' He doesn't get too up or down about it. He just said to have fun and he'd be up in the stands enjoying himself."
Director of player development Brian Graham served as bench coach for Saturday's game with Russell in the manager's role.
"It's not going to be a big, huge difference for me, other than having to go make the pitching changes," Russell said. "I will rely on Dave [Wallace, pitching coach] and what he sees. I'm looking forward to it. We'll see what the night brings."
Schoop returns to O's lineup against Duffy
KANSAS CITY -- Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was back in the Orioles' lineup on Saturday after missing the opening two games of the Royals series with a sore right index finger.
Ryan Flaherty had started at second with right-handers Yordano Ventura and Jeremy Guthrie on the mound. The Orioles faced left-hander Danny Duffy on Saturday and the right-handed-hitting Schoop was ready to go.
"He's good," acting manager John Russell said. "With Duffy on the mound, we wanted to get [Schoop] in there."
• Right-hander Dylan Bundy -- the Orioles' No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com who underwent Tommy John surgery on June 27, 2013 -- has progressed to a point where he is expected to throw one inning in an extended spring game on Tuesday.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.