Tillman fades after impressive start, Orioles lose

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (46) throws against the New York Yankees in the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, July 29, 2011. Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (46) throws against the New York Yankees in the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)
By Mike Fitzpatrick
AP Sports Writer / July 30, 2011

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NEW YORK—For two innings, Chris Tillman looked like a future ace. By the fifth, he was headed back to the minors.

Nick Swisher had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the New York Yankees backed Bartolo Colon with plenty of production from the bottom of their lineup to beat Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.

A touted pitching prospect, the 23-year-old Tillman was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to make the start. He retired his first six batters, striking out four, before fading fast.

"Those first couple of innings, that's as good as I've seen him come out with his fastball, attacking hitters. It was encouraging, but it kind of got away from him. It was frustrating. There was a better outing for him to be had," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "It's frustrating for us because he's close to putting together a real deep outing, and I thought he was going to those first two innings."

Tillman took the loss after allowing seven runs, five earned, and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings. Following his first big league start since May 27, he was optioned back to Norfolk.

"It's been a long two months," Tillman said. "It's a work in progress. It won't change overnight."

By sending Tillman back to Triple-A, the Orioles opened a roster spot for Zach Britton. The left-hander was recalled from Double-A Bowie to start the second game.

Six players drove in at least one run for the Yankees. The final five hitters in the lineup combined to go 10 for 19 with six RBIs and six runs scored.

"We expect all our guys to hit, but the bottom of the order did a lot of damage today," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's always nice when everyone's contributing."

Swisher also doubled and singled to pace a Yankees offense missing Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin. All three All-Stars were rested in a game that began about 13 hours after last-place Baltimore finished off a rain-delayed 4-2 win Friday night.

The nightcap was set for 7:05 p.m. to make up an April 12 rainout. Britton was scheduled to face New York rookie Ivan Nova, with both starting pitchers returning from the minors.

Brett Gardner had a two-run single for the Yankees, who improved to 7-1 in the season series. They have outscored Baltimore 61-25, though three of the games went to extra innings.

Colon (8-6) has won consecutive outings following a three-start losing streak. The husky right-hander labored through five innings under a hot sun, throwing 105 pitches while wriggling out of three jams.

Cory Wade worked three strong innings in relief, allowing only a solo homer to Mark Reynolds. Boone Logan finished up with a scoreless ninth.

With the score tied at 2, Tillman (2-4) issued a leadoff walk to Robinson Cano in the fourth and fell behind Swisher 2-0. Swisher sent a drive to right for his 13th homer, giving New York the lead for good. No. 9 batter Francisco Cervelli added an RBI single.

After making 35 pitches through three innings, Tillman doubled that total in the fourth.

"Whatever he was doing in the first two innings was unbelievable. He was hitting his spots, his curveball was starting out a ball and finishing as a strike. He couldn't get the feel of his changeup, but at that time I didn't think we needed it," Orioles catcher Craig Tatum said. "After the second inning, he just kind of lost the feel of the curveball and once they eliminated that, the changeup, we couldn't throw it for a strike. Then we didn't get a strike on the fastball."

In the fifth, a tough throwing error on rookie second baseman Blake Davis led to three unearned runs.

Swisher's one-out double chased Tillman, and Chavez greeted lefty reliever Troy Patton with an RBI single. Jorge Posada drove in a run with a groundout, and Dickerson's single made it 8-2.

Cervelli's ground-rule double in the third put runners on second and third. With Reynolds playing in at third to guard against a bunt, Gardner slapped a sharp grounder toward the line that deflected off Reynolds' glove for a two-run single.

"In the first two innings, we were ahead of everybody. The second time through their lineup, it was 2-1, 3-1," Tatum said.

Baltimore got RBI groundouts from Tatum and J.J. Hardy in the fourth.

Colon struck out Adam Jones on a full-count slider with runners at second and third to end a 35-pitch fourth. The 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner also fanned Reynolds with the bases loaded to escape unscathed in the first.

Reynolds hit his 23rd homer in the eighth.

NOTES: To open a roster spot for Tillman, the Orioles placed RHP Brad Bergesen on the paternity leave list. Bergesen left the team to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. He can stay on the paternity leave list for a maximum of three days. ... Jones had two hits and reached base four times. ... Orioles 1B Derrek Lee struck out looking three times. ... Baltimore has lost 16 of 21. ... The Orioles have dropped 31 of their last 39 games against the Yankees. ... Baltimore went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, falling to 8 for 56 (.143) over the last nine games with three extra-base hits, all doubles.

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