MLB Baseball

7
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Detroit2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 780
Baltimore0 0 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 591
5
  W: W. Saupold (3-1)   L: C. Tillman (1-7)   S: S. Greene (3)
4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, August 3, 2017
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland  Attendance: 17,157

Struggling Tillman starts Orioles' series opener vs. Tigers

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles are hoping to see Chris Tillman return to form when he takes the mound for the opener of a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night at Camden Yards.

Not much has gone right for Tillman (1-6, 7.65 ERA) this season. The right-hander missed the first month with shoulder issues and has not found his way since returning to the rotation in early May.

Tillman has pitched well at times, but he has never gotten past six innings and routinely runs into trouble in the first. In his last outing, Tillman allowed two runs in the first inning and gave up eight runs in 4 1/3 innings in an 8-2 loss at Texas.

The Orioles had looked at him as their No. 1 starter, but he has not won in 13 starts since getting a victory his first time out this season. But Tillman is 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts against the Tigers, so the Orioles have some hope.

Also, Baltimore starters allowed just two runs in 22 innings in a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals that the Orioles completed with a 6-0 victory Wednesday.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter hopes the good starting pitching can continue as Baltimore (53-54) is riding a five-game winning streak.

"To put together long runs of good pitching out of five or six guys is really a challenge," he said. "But right now they seem to be feeding off each other. Chris gets a chance tomorrow to get back where he was before he had that outing in Texas."

Tillman will face off against Matthew Boyd (5-5, 5.30). The left-hander has won his last three starts since coming back to the rotation after being sent down to Triple-A Toledo (3-3 in eight starts).

Boyd has been solid since his return, going 3-0 and giving the Tigers (49-57) a lift.

He allowed three runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings last Saturday in a 5-3 victory over the Astros and will try for a fourth straight victory.

Boyd has appeared just once against Baltimore, with no record and a 27.00 ERA, having given up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in a start earlier this season.

The Orioles haven't been making nearly as many moves on their pitching shuttle since closer Zach Britton returned. In fact, their bullpen is pretty well set.

Backup catcher Caleb Joseph now is getting more playing time due to his strong defense and much-improved hitting.

He had a .296 average with six homers and 22 RBIs after the Orioles won Wednesday. Joseph hit a two-run homer in that game.

Joseph did not drive in a run in an injury-plagued 2016.

Showalter also said they're hoping to get Mark Trumbo (rib cage strain) off the disabled list, close to the day he's eligible (Aug. 9).

The Tigers are trying to reset their bullpen after trading closer Josh Wilson to the Chicago Cubs earlier this week.

Shane Greene became the closer, got a five-out save Tuesday and a one-inning save Wednesday in a 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees. The bullpen could become an issue after losing its top gun.

The Tigers (49-57) come into this series playing better. Detroit has won four of its last five games, including the rain-delayed win Wednesday in New York.

They won two of three games from Baltimore in the series the teams played earlier this season.

"We're playing good baseball," Detroit's Mikie Mahtook said. "Nobody in this locker room is giving up. We're rallying around each other. We're having fun, we're playing the game and we're getting wins."

Updated August 3, 2017

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