BALTIMORE (AP) — Three batters into the game, Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles trailed by three runs.
Although Tillman buckled down after that, it was too late. The Orioles never overcame the early deficit and lost 5-2 Sunday, ending their five-game winning streak.
After Tillman began his peculiar outing by issuing two straight walks, Jason Castro hit the right-hander’s next pitch over the center-field wall.
“Nothing was really there for me early on,” Tillman conceded. “Fastball command wasn’t there for me from the get-go.”
Tillman (3-2) avoided further damage in the first inning and worked out of jams in the second and third. He needed 105 pitches to get through five innings and ended up allowing three runs on four hits with a season-high five walks.
“It was a grind throughout,” said Tillman, Baltimore’s opening-day starter. “I think once I had a little better idea of what was going on, I was able to work with it. But it’s unfortunate. I’d like to get deeper in that game, give my team a better chance to win. These guys have been playing hard. Like I said, it’s frustrating.”
Adam Jones drove in both Baltimore runs, giving him 501 RBIs in 981 career games.
Before the game, the Orioles activated Chris Davis (strained left oblique) from the 15-day disabled list and put catcher Matt Wieters on the DL with a strained right elbow. Davis went 2 for 4 in his first game since April 25.
“Felt good,” Davis said. “Timing is a little off, little in-between. But it was definitely good to be in there, moving around again.”
Jarred Cosart (2-3) allowed two runs and eight hits over six innings for the Astros, who had lost seven of eight before ending Baltimore’s season-long winning streak.
“When we can come out and score early, that’s really when we’re at our best,” Castro said. “It kind of gives some of the young staff a little bit of a breather from the beginning.”
After the Orioles closed to 3-2, Marc Krauss homered against T.J. McFarland with a runner on in the seventh.
“Those are the runs we have not been able to get,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “Those tack-on runs that give you an extra cushion, make it a three-run lead instead of a one-run lead. That was a huge home run.”
Houston is 11-11 when it hits a home run and 1-15 when it doesn’t.
Although the Astros’ bullpen came in with a 6.21 ERA, Tony Sipp struck out five in two perfect innings and Chad Qualls worked the ninth for his second save.
Jose Altuve had three hits for the Astros, who improved to 6-12 against the Orioles — including 2-10 at Camden Yards.
It didn’t take long for the tone of the game to be established. After Tillman walked Altuve and Dexter Fowler, Castro hit his fifth home run of the season. Tillman has yielded seven runs in the first, his most in any inning.
“He just never quite got in sync, but a lot of guys would have imploded there,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He kept us in the ballgame and threw some zeros up after that. But it wasn’t what he’s capable of or what we’ve come to expect. Or more importantly, what Chris has come to expect.”
Jones hit a two-run single to get Baltimore to 3-2 in the third.
A double by Davis in the fifth put two runners in scoring position, but Jones struck out before Nelson Cruz flied out.
NOTES: The Orioles were denied consecutive three-game sweeps for the first time since 2005. They won three in a row at Tampa Bay before facing the Astros. … The game drew 45,944 fans, the second sellout of the season at Camden Yards. … Baltimore’s Nick Markakis singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, one short of his career high. … Tillman’s 399th and 400th career strikeouts came against George Springer in the first and third. … Houston’s Alex Presley snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a sixth-inning single. … Bud Norris takes the mound for Baltimore on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against Detroit. The Astros return home to face Texas. … Since coming to Houston from the Padres organization, Sipp has retired all 12 batters he’s faced with seven strikeouts.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)