KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The only luck Chris Tillman had was bad. Chris Getz led off the game with an infield single and that opened the floodgates for a four-run first inning, and the Kansas City Royals wound up thumping Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles 9-1 on Thursday afternoon.
While few of the five hits in the first were hit hard — and one was lost in the sun — they counted just the same.
“Nine runs, you’re really not going to be talking about luck,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m not going to sit there and dwell on that.”
Tillman was pulled after 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on 10 hits and a walk as half the 22 batters he faced reached base.
“It is disappointing,” Tillman said. “It’s more frustration than disappointment. It came down to making my pitches late in the count again. The results weren’t there.”
Tillman could not prevent the big inning, giving up three runs in the fourth before being replaced by Josh Rupe.
“It comes with experience, to be honest,” Tillman said. “Today the wheels kind of fell off. Things didn’t go my way.”
His record dropped to 1-3 and his ERA soared to 7.16. Showalter indicated Tillman would remain in the rotation, but for how long is another question.
“He is going to have to get better,” Showalter said. “Our options are him and a few others. The way he started out, I thought he was going to pitch pretty well stuff-wise. He’s got to be better than that. We all know that.”
Tillman had good velocity, but not good results.
“It’s more than just stuff up here,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of guys with really above-average stuff, but it’s how you
command it and how you use it.”
Melky Cabrera homered, doubled and singled while driving in four runs, and Bruce Chen allowed one run in seven innings as the Royals took two of three from the Orioles.
Cabrera, who also scored three times, hit a solo homer in the eighth off Clay Rapada.
Chen (4-1) gave up his only run in the first and then pitched shutout ball for the next six innings. The left-hander, who was KC’s biggest winner last year, allowed five hits and one run, walking two and striking out five. He has not lost a start in Kauffman Stadium since Aug. 12, 2010, against the Yankees. Since then, he’s 6-0 in nine starts at home.
The Royals kept their streak intact of not losing a home series.
They’re 4-0 so far this year with two splits. The Orioles are 2-8 when the opponent starts a left-handed pitcher.
With help from Tillman’s balk and a sun that kept playing peek-a-boo behind high, fluffy clouds, the Royals scored four runs in the first inning and another in the second, before breaking it open with three in the fourth.
Cabrera’s RBI single got it started in the first inning. Alex Gordon singled in the second run, moved up on Tillman’s balk and then scored on a double by Jeff Francoeur. Wilson Betemit then lifted a popup that fell between third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop Robert Andino when they both lost the ball in the sun. It went for an RBI single.
Back-to-back doubles by Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz made it 5-1 in the second.
Cabrera’s two-run double made it 7-1 in the fourth and then, after a wild pitch, Billy Butler hit an RBI double.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)